Snow! Finally, snow! If it’s going to be winter, and cold, and bare branches, then I want my snow. It makes winter miraculous, that smooth bright overlayment that falls out of the sky, establishing itself across what was rough and tired.
At last the snow came but, for Michigan, it was awfully warm to be snowing. The temperature hovered just around freezing, and the snow struggled. Where past snowfalls stacked neat cakes onto flat surfaces, this one, all six inches of it, sagged, drooped, and slumped. And then it got Michigannily cold, and all the slumps stopped mid-slide and froze into place. I mean, just look at this – like it wanted to be March but changed its mind. It looks like cartoon snow. And what’s with the bare spots under the chairs? There are six inches of snow out there, more than the patio furniture can usually protect.
Then we have this Craters of the Moon effect on the deck. It’s probably not the tracks of squirrel gymnastics, since our squirrelopotamus is mostly holed up with his massive supply of pumpkin seeds, and moving slowly when out and about. In fact, this is the snow that tried to stack onto tree branches, but was so wet it kept plopping off onto the deck, little winter asteroids pockmarking Planet Deck as they landed.
Where no trees overhang the lawn we have a few ordinary trails of the drag-foot deer crossing east to west.. But then, what made this series of plops with the big spaces between them? They’re further apart than I can step – something was jumping, or bounding. The best match from an internet search: a wolverine! Well, I support the local team but not to the point of importing wildlife; and it looks a little dainty for football players anyway. I searched again and turned up the tracks of a marten, an animal once abundant in Michigan but mostly gone now. Could it be squirrelopotamus after all? A bunny? A large, energetic bunny? A bunny large and energetic in spite of there being almost nothing out there for it to eat? It was about 6 degrees outdoors, so I wasn’t inclined to go look into the bottom of the swooshes for telltale toe marks.
This less mysterious track was made by Christen, the woman who plows my driveway, as she guided her truck around the curve of the asphalt. The temperature had already fallen some when she plowed, the snow being wet enough to take a good imprint of the tire tread, and the air cold enough to freeze it in place before it could slump. I love the row of mini-hoodoos.
Meanwhile, the bulbs I started are blooming, an indoor snowfall at the window, mirroring the colder fluff outside.
Poem: Winter, Love
Inside the window, paperwhites
lean jealously against the glass,
appraise the falling snow
for signs that it will not surpass
their raw ability to bring
glory to a winter hour.
But what do the narcissus know?
Saturated with delight
as the glass reflects their faces,
each ice crystal is a flower
to the viewer it displaces,
winter passionate as spring
fields of bloom on frozen lawn
harvest what they grow upon.
published in Bluestem