When Snow Comes to the Hills of Winter
December 16, 2012
They drifted in during the night, those gigantic leviathans of black clouds. They were so stealthy and silent they were not noticed until all the stars and planets have disappeared as if they had been wiped away.
From far away came the faint murmur of thunder, and then, the sounds that were like heavy barrels rolling over a hardwood floor.
Then, a silence like no other.
Around midnight, the snow began to fall. The flakes were large and they fell slow and soft the rest of the night. When I awoke the next morning, the snow was still falling and everything outside was covered in a blanket of ermine.
I made coffee and filled a thermos, then walked outside and up the hill to a five acre table on my property bordered on one side by sheer limestone bluffs and a precipice where a waterfall streamed down to the creek in a cascade shot with silver light.
I sat on a stump among some bare-limed trees where the timber bordered the flat and watched the snowfall. It came down in delicate wafers, slow and steady, without a sound. Each flake seemed to behave like photons that floated downward in both visible particles and invisible waves.
I knew that no two patterns in those flakes were alike, that all were different, and all intricate and beautiful.
There was not even the whisper of a breeze, so the snow fell slow and straight as if the clouds held their breath to reshape the landscape with purity and newness. I thought the skies were bandaging a paradise ravaged and skinned by winter, softening all the sharp edges, molding the surface with an alabaster sculpturing that smoothed a world waiting for spring.
This was a silent world of softly falling snow. The hills and the trees were flocked in snow and there seemed to be a vaporous light that shone through the hardwoods and the cedars.
The bluffs were streaked with icy beards where the water had frozen. Snowflakes were encased in those glassy threads of frozen water, preserved for a time like moths trapped in resin.
Soon, by midmorning, the sun was trying to shine through and it cast an eerie light over the majesty of the snowy land. Shadows from the bare tree limbs began to carve scrimshaw patterns onto the gaunt and bleached bone of the snow. At times, these shadows looked like Chinese characters, and at others, they were shifting geometic designs carved by some ancient whaler with the point of an antler or a skinning knife.
In the glacial silence, I stared at a winter wonderland that made me feel as if I had entered another dimension. I was alone in a winter wonderland and all around me were the snowy hills garbed in soft white fur.
The quietness pervaded this deserted corner of my Eden. The coffee smelled and tasted good and I was bundled up warm. As I sat there, I wished the whole world could take just a few minutes to sit in solitude and drink in the beauty of this earth. I look for those places and those moments.
And, I find them.