The Magic of Winter at Bernheim Forest




February 1, 1989




Have you ever driven by Bernheim Forest 20 miles southeast of Louisville? Did you notice the sign at the entrance saying 10,000 acres? Wow! I thought the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., was big with 59 acres.

I remember when I first saw Bemheim, it was early spring and the dandelion looked as if someone had rolled out a yellow carpet.

And surely the lake could never be more beautiful, with ducks swimming and it all being framed by white dogwood blooming at their peak along the shoreline.

This is a perfect sanctuary for the protected deer. If you look dark and deep into the forest, you will see them in numbers.

The magic of winter is here. The trees are bare now. In the winter the forest gives away more of its secrets. We see more width of the landscape with the leaves down. Where else could we see the quaking aspen only in the northern mountains, or a Hawthorn tree with Chickadees hunting for red berries?

What makes it so interesting is that all the shrubs and trees are tagged, and you know exactly what you are looking at.

I haven't heard anyone complaining about the mild winter we have been having here in Kentucky. Well maybe the winter skiers have. We have only had one light snow that fell silently one night dusting the ground with white, but it had melted by noon.

Button up your overcoat as we take a walk through one of the many nature trails; this one leads us to one of the buildings housing some of the animals. We will call it a zoo for lack of a better name.

They have a veterinarian taking care of the sick and wounded. A crow with a broken wing that cannot fly, soon to be released to a crow family out there somewhere. The crows never fly alone. A raccoon with a broken leg is looking at us with suspicion. And where did the opossum come from?

As much as we have enjoyed the sights and sounds of Bernheim Forest, dusk is gathering. With itís colder temperatures, we must retrace our steps homeward bound to sit by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and dream of another place, another time, and another season when we can explore some more wonders of Kentucky.

As we are leaving, I notice a small white flower pushing through the brown earth at our feet. It is a snowdrop that has gotten all mixed up with the season, and is going all out of itís way to bring us a white blossom.