Saturday, December 14, 2013
The snow is coming gently down, as though someone aloft was shaking a feather pillow. Small gusts of wind whirl it up and around and it settles again on the ground, on the fence posts, on tree branches and the backs of the juncoes waiting their turn at the feeder. The hundreds of geese that peppered the surface of the pond just a couple of weeks ago have fled south ahead of the cold and the snow. The mornings belong now to the jay and the crow and the silence that even their strident calls can't shatter.
This is the hunkering down time of year, when everything that lives seeks shelter or stands stoically against the winds. I walk the snowbound meadows and see the bones of last summer's flowers - the delicate brown cups of Queen Anne's lace, the empty seedpods of the milkweed, the delicate stems of long dead asters. There is beauty in austerity if you look for it, and colors that are overshadowed by summer's riotous shades - the buff and fawn of spent grasses, the muted scarlet of red dogwood osier and blackberry canes, the rich mahogany of oak leaves, the greeny-black of pines and firs.
To know the land when it is quiet, to see the promise of spring in the tightly held buds already set but sleeping, is to know hope.