Carl White's Life in the Carolinas

Winter Walks
Exploring Lakeside Trails
by Suzelle Sinclair
suzelle.sinclair@earthlink.net

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
~Henry David Thoreau

While the crackling of a cozy fire may beckon my body to draw near, it is the solitude of a winter walk that lures my spirit. Among the many beautiful trails in the Carolinas, lakeside paths are most wonderful to explore in winter months. Today my walk takes me to Salem Lake in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In warmer weather this is an extremely popular location. However, on this chilly February morning only a few avid runners and cyclists braved the cold. This solitude provides a rare opportunity to listen as nature speaks.

A large group of ducks gathered at the entrance. In warner months visitors bring bread and feed them all day long. Today, as there are few visitors bearing the gift of day-old crumbs, the birds greet me most enthusiastically Fortunately for my feathered friends, I remembered them and brought a bag of bread crumbs.

I don’t know if there is more wildlife at the lake in the winter or if it is simply the lack of human visitors that makes nature more visible. Winter walks are simply filled with nature which is otherwise unnoticed. Sitting on a bench and listening I first noticed the lack of familiar sounds. No one was talking, there was no sound of cars or other human bustling. The lack of those familiar sounds seemed quiet. Then a symphony arose from that perceived silence. The rustling of leaves blown by a gentle wind. The distance sound of birds that steadily grew louder as they echoed one another in harmony.

Gazing across the lake the sunlight glistened like a million diamonds. A leaping fish created a subtle chain of countless rings that pressed against the diamonds creating new patterns of light.

Suddenly, my everyday world faded away. Challenges, disappointments and fears were blown away by a gentle breeze that kissed my cheek. I am, for a moment, in the moment, present and reset. When in nature, or more accurately, when we allow nature to enter us, a magical reset of mind and spirit occurs. All of nature conspires together to speak to us and translate the secrets of our souls.

As I prepare to leave the lake today, I encountered an old, long-missed friend. She is my courageous self. Reconnected through a visit to the lake on a winter’s day.

There are many beautiful lakeside trails across the Carolinas. 

I would encourage you to enjoy the pleasures of a winter walk. 

You can find a trail near you at www.ncparks.gov or www.sctrails.net

CHARLOTTE WEATHER