Over a month since my last post! Christmas season and the end of the semester really consumed my time: blogging was definitely not at the forefront of my mind! The new year has brought a slower pace, with a concentrated and less consuming teaching assignment as well as weather that forced me to draw into myself, to slow down, to think. The post below is a result of that–we are just melting out of a winter storm that brought over a foot of snow, drifting, sub-zero temperatures, and a brief period without electricity. This post describes the beginning of the storm.
A week ago today it snowed all day long, from 7:30, first light, until fr after dark, though by then the fast falling flakes, thick and blanching the sky, had given way to tiny glittering flecks catching the moonlight. Steadily, the ground rose closer to sky, white and thick, muffled in a silent blanket of snow. The air was mild, with no bitterness or bite to it yet, though, just cold, as a snowy day should be. Snow piled thickly on unmoving branches, the wind that shrieked through later having not yet arrived, until finally the stack of snow, piled precariously, dipped branches low and shuddered off their weight onto the deepening snow below.
Everything evened out with the snow, the driveway trough disappearing, the drop down from the deck becoming no drop down at all, hollows filled and corners softened.
So I snowshoed. First steps collapsed the snow to boot tops, the snow making a squinching sound as it mashed under my snowshoes. I soon adopted a shuffle to avoid the flip up of snow into my boot tops that each lifting step accomplished; shuffling also kept my boots in the bindings, so I moved along, plowing the drifts in front of me with my feet. One trip up and back the driveway: ten minutes. Then into the woods: another world, a quiet so intense, a world so muffled and deep that each step into it seemed to echo, even my breaths unsettling the silence.
Boughs stooped to the ground, blocking the trail; the rough cuts of the ravine were rounded and humped by the snow. Pristine white everywhere, unmarred even by animal tracks which usually pock the trail. My snowshoes alone moved along the path, scarring the smooth surface. I went until a tangle of brambles, bent under their own weight, blocked my path, so I turned and stepped into the grooves my shoes had made, slipping back home.
I was not tired but energized by the crisp cold on my face, the blood pumping through my legs, and I wanted to stay out in the air forever. The house with its warmth seemed too bland and tame; I wanted to be in the elemental chill, feeling the brush of snowflakes on my cheeks, the trickle of melting snow slipping from my hat, feeling alive and blessed to be in the world.