In a Desert of Snow, I See A Winter's Smile
January 20, 2013
The snow falls on a cold grey morning. The flakes are sculpted in complex patterns, all different, like the sky’s fingerprints. They are almost the size of quarters and they fall so slow on this windless morn, they seem impervious to earth’s gravity. But, fall they do and flock the bosom of the land with white wafers that cling like magnets to stone and soil until the entire countryside piles high with the strange frosted sand that resembles refined sugar.
There is utter silence in this comely snowfall. It is as gentle as a baby blanket as it covers the hills and clings to the green pine needles, the cedar feathers and the bare limbs of oaks, black walnuts, and box elders. The land becomes a holiday postcard, frozen in a frameless gallery like a Currier & Ives woodcut on a grey wall.
The snow covers the leaves that fell in fall from the small trees planted along a bed of strawberries, and on the buried asperagus in hibernation. There is hydrogen and other fertilizing chemicals inside the flakes and when the snow melts, the sleeping plants will be nurtured for their rebirth in the spring.
All according to plan.
A magic plan. A divine plan.
The snowfall thickens and there is a softness to these Ozark hills, a majesty to the limestone bluffs that have become cameos wearing ermine shawls, bearded with icicles and etched from countless centuries of rains, wind and snowfalls like this one. They are a sight to behold, those stark bluffs, that now seem like ancient monuments carved and crafted by brown-skinned sculptors who wanted to leave a permanent message of their existence long before we came into this veritable Eden.
The snow will fall all day and into the night, so soft the ear cannot pick up the faint tink of each lovely flake. The creeks will rime with crystal along their banks and some shallow ones will freeze over.
The only birds are the chickadees, the jays and the raucous crows. In the morning, the chickadees will gather under the snow-laden trees and peck through the snow for seeds. They will fluff their feathers, flex their wings and scurry around in search of food. They will resemble a child’s battery-powered toys. Gone is the robin and the meadowlark, the hummingbird, the insects and the fireflies, the butterflies, the dragonflies, the mosquitoes, the June bug, the ladybug. All is swept clean and left motionless in the wake of this snowfall.
In the morning I will awaken in another universe, another world. The snow will have ceased to fall sometime after midnight, but the clouds will remain, hovering like some benevolent sentinel above the silent earth.
The dawn will bring a feeble sun above the horizon. Its rays will flash on the snow and mine silver and gold from the white velvet.
And, there before me, in the glory of morning, a blazing star shrouded in thinning clouds, is the wan smile of winter.
I bask in a joyous glow as diamonds sparkle on the deserted white landscape.
And, I smile back.
Jory Sherman is author of Hills of Eden. Click the book cover to read more about the book on Amazon.