Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow Days

The snowy woods.
Nothing quiets the soul like walking through the falling snow, especially when the world is already hushed beneath a blanket of white and the wind is calm.

It is as if you are wrapped in a dime store snow globe, all on your own. Your personal, magical world.
Such an easy metaphor when one walks in nature, away from the city rush and scurry. However, I have also noticed that phenomenon in small towns at least -- I haven't spent that much time walking in cities during a snowfall.

The snow muffles traffic sounds and seems to put distance between you and the other voices of the town. The air always seems warmer when snow falls, I have noticed.

As snow fell on Thursday afternoon -- a light snow, after the heavier stuff of the morning left a foot of white -- I walked down the hill and across the empty pond hole. The snow was nearly to my knees and I had to lift my heavy boots high to walk.

The hood of my coat had fallen back and I was warm, even sweating, from the exertion of shoveling snow and taking a walk down our long driveway to see if, perhaps, the mail carrier had made it through. No mail. The road had not yet been plowed, although I saw a large pickup drive by, twice, its road noise softened by the snow.
Rose thicket in the woods.
Snow collected in my hair, melted and refroze. The hair hanging down by my face was crusted with ice. I walked across the empty pond, up to where a spring once flowed to fill it. Then back I walked, another direction across the crater and into the strip of woods, on the other side of which was the driveway. At one point I sat in the deep snow, feeling weary from the shoveling and walking. Walking through deep snow makes the effort more challenging -- good for the thighs though.
Branches hang heavy with snow, exposing the heart of the tree.
The cold of the snow seeped slowly through my insulated overalls. I felt cozy, the snow conforming to my body's shape, making the most comfortable seat I've ever had. Meditation, contemplation as the light snow fell around me. Then into the woods, where I encountered the rose thicket that has surprised and delighted me the last few summers by sporting pink beacons of joy in the June woods.

Then on to the driveway and up the steep hill -- not quite done yet, though weary. I traipsed into the cedar grove, feeling the group of Sanctuary Trees envelope me with their protective embrace. The snow was pristine and unmarked.
A chorus of rabbit tracks in the snow.
The next day I took the camera out to capture some of the scenes I had found during the snow. Rabbits and birds had left tracks everywhere, shallow tracks because the snow was firm and a crust of ice had formed early on Thursday when a light freezing drizzle fell. No deer tracks, yet. I kept the track making at a minimum because three granddaughters would arrive on Saturday. Let them have the joy of being the first to break the sparkling snow. Nothing brings out the child in all of us like deep snow on the ground. We trudged, built things, went sledding down the hill.

Saturday and Sunday brought much thawing, although the snow remains fairly deep. Today we wait for the next storm to arrive -- possibly another 12 inches, they say. Snow loses its charm after so much time of poor travel conditions, wet and mud and so on. But after two very dry years, I welcome this late winter snow. It will bring much needed moisture to the gardens and orchards. It won't be long before my baby cabbages will go into the ground and I will plant rows of snap peas and snow peas, kale and collards.

Without warning, summer will set in and the tomatoes and peppers will be in bloom. Such is the turning of the seasons.

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