The resident naturalist emerges from the woods, white slacks and dark blue coat a perfect camouflage against the new snow and blue shadows.
By late morning, the snow begins to soften. I notice there’s hardly a spot in the yard where some animal hasn’t left a footprint.
The ballyhooed snowstorm begins slowly: temperature above freezing, and just a few, insouciant flakes melting on contact with the bare road.
Most of the mountain is still sealed under five inches of icy snowpack, but the wind goes down the plowed road, turning over all the leaves.
Buffeted by wind, I close my eyes and focus on the sun’s warmth as the archipelago of drifted snow rearranges itself around my chair.
Snow-melt dripping off the roof forms a glistening bead curtain, blown sideways by the breeze, rattling on the tin roof over the oil tanks.
Branches skinned by rabbits, yellow as fresh bones, are starting to emerge from the snowpack. Light rain on my glasses turns my view to blear.
As the temperature climbs, I watch the shadows on the snow lose all their blue. The groundhog under my house gnaws on a beam.
Yesterday’s snow on every branch? A filigree of drips sparkling in the sun. Periodic crashes from the back of the house as icicles let go.
In the midst of a near white-out, a crow caws, and the chickadees keep twittering. I shake snow from a tissue to blow my nose.
Shutting my eyes alternately against the glare, I discover that the trees’ shadows are only blue in my right eye; they’re gray in my left.
The only spots of bare earth are in the plowed driveway. When I stand up, they erupt in wings, seeding the snowy yard with brown sparrows.
The creek has shrunk to a black ribbon between white canyon walls. A cardinal fluttering up from a quick bath shakes loose a shower of snow.
The wind has allowed only the biggest limbs to hold onto their snow. I can see them far off through the woods—white bridges to nowhere.
Sound, like the rest of the weather, is out of the east: plow trucks, slow-moving trains, a dog barking on and on at the falling snow.
Two below zero. A squirrel races through the front garden, belly-flops into the yard below, and makes it to the woods in eight bounds.