I sometimes wish I could capture a day and put it in a box tied neatly with a ribbon, to be opened later and enjoyed again and again. Such was a day last week. Fifty degrees, in Maine, in January — imagine!

I took advantage of the disappearing snow by strapping on my dad’s snowshoes and going for a walk on the trails near my home.

My father spent 30 years earning his living on those snowshoes, walking the woodlands of his employer, Great Northern Paper Co. Upon his retirement, he passed them on to me.

The snowshoes were made before I was born and yet are in as good shape now as they were when my dad last used them more than 20 years ago. They are a work of art, handcrafted and strong, made from steam-bent ash with hand-woven tread.

As I walked the trails I thought of my dad and how he would walk for miles in deep snow marking plots, how he would stop to build a fire and eat his lunch or how he would look for an open spring to get fresh water. He used the shoes for business, and now I use them for pleasure.

What a pleasurable day it was. The woods were blanketed by a light ground fog highlighted with sunbeams shining through the trees. I crossed a small wooden bridge with a gurgling stream running below, pausing to listen to the melody of the water as it tinkled through the ice.

Farther down the trail, I entered a fir grove, and the scent of the trees was as thick as perfume. Imagine picking up and taking a big sniff of a balsam pillow that you often see at the cash register line at an L.L. Bean store. That’s what the woods smelled like.

In that grove, a large bird flew low in front of me. It was an owl. “An owl!” I know I said the words out loud; I was so surprised. I’ve never before seen an owl in the woods. The bird perched in a tree and I watched him and he watched me. He stretched his wings, ready to flee if I was a threat. I was friend, not foe, and he stayed put. With reluctance, I eventually moved on and left him to return to his nap.

It was a magical walk, one I wished would never end, but the sun began to drop and my snowshoes were heavy with slushy snow. I knew it was time to turn to home. As I traveled, I wished my dad could have made that walk with me. I knew he had many days on those same snowshoes when the beauty of the Maine woods gave him the very same sense of awe and wonder I experienced that day.

We were joined by our mutual experience, if not in time, then in spirit and in the beauty of a fine winter day. For this — and the gift of that day — I am thankful.

Karen Thibodeau is a resident of Old Town.