The forest is silent around us. The wind in the trees makes not a sound. Nothing stirs in the brush. Not another soul is in sight, not even the elk whose fresh tracks we keep crossing. Only our feet crunching through the brittle snow break the silence, but even that seems muted somehow.
I pause frequently, crouching to takes pictures of pine needles and dried flowers poking through the snow. The cool air around me is full of earthy smells. I inhale deeply, letting the the freshness of pine, the subtle sharpness of sagebrush clear my head. The internal turmoil from being trapped inside begins to ease.
Overhead the sky is a canvas of shifting clouds, ominously dark yet an empty threat. There will be no snow from them for us. So, we crunch on, the dogs jumping in and out of our steps, happy to be in the woods.
We hardly talk, my dad and I. We just walk, taking in the tranquility of the wild and the awe that comes with being isolated from the rest of humanity. It is a humbling, grounding feeling.
It brings me back to my roots.