January is often a sopping wet mess of a month here in the Pacific Northwest. We do, however, have some wonderfully cold, dry days that make for perfect walking weather. And while I sometimes daydream of living out in the country where I would have daily access to forested trails or vistas of the Cascade foothills...the reality is that I live in the suburbs.
Being in the suburbs does not mean that beauty and nature are not present. They are certainly there, and they are waiting to be observed and appreciated right out your front door.
I love seeing the frost patterns on the leaves. The ice crystals remind me of science experiments with my boys when they were younger. We would mix borax with boiling water in a canning jar and leave pipe cleaners in the solution to develop crystals over a few days. It was always a fascinating to watch the crystals grow. If you shape the pipe cleaners into stars or snowflakes, they make great Christmas tree ornaments.
We may not see them often, but there are more creatures than just cats and dogs in my neighborhood. I have seen Bald Eagles, Coyotes, Rabbits, Salamanders, baby Opossums and more. Today I found a few sets of paw prints crossing the road. Maybe they were left by a Raccoon or Opossum??
The Pacific Northwest is home to a thousand shades of green as well as a variety of mosses and lichens. When we have had a stretch of overcast and gray days, the greens of the mosses really stand out.
Daphne blooms in the winter, and it smells lovely. I have tried to grow it in our garden, but a heavy winter snow took it out one year. So, I am always thankful for neighbors who have these winter blooming shrubs in the area.
Even the rain is beautiful! This Serviceberry Tree (Amelanchier) had some berries leftover from summer hanging onto the ends of the branches.
Getting outside as often as I can to walk through my neighborhood is so refreshing. I always return in a better mood and am ready to tackle the rest of my day. How about you? What have you been observing in your neighborhood?