There’s eight inches of snow on the ground with another four expected as the snow is continuing to fall.  The roads are slushy, snowy, slippery and dangerous.  Work called a snow day – stay home, stay safe.

The wind periodically gusts blowing the snow sideways, driving it to the ground creating a gauzy white curtain of low visibility.  Then it quiets. The flakes are free to find their own way to the ground; meandering, falling, rising slightly, floating, taking their time to find the ground.  All is white and silent.  A blanket of snow usually muffles the sounds of our hustle and bustle.  But today, with so many heading the weatherman’s advice, there is also little activity to hush.

 

The wind periodically gusts blowing the snow sideways, driving it to the ground creating a gauzy white curtain of low visibility.  Then it quiets. The flakes are free to find their own way to the ground; meandering, falling, rising slightly, floating, taking their time to find the ground.  All is white and silent.  A blanket of snow usually muffles the sounds of our hustle and bustle.  But today, with so many heading the weatherman’s advice, there is also little activity to hush.

Path of Solitude
Path of Solitude

I filled the bird feeders with sunflower seeds and peanuts, they’ll need their energy today.  Then I strapped on my snowshoes and headed out the back door into the white.  Bridger led the way, bounding gleefully through snow almost up to his belly.  We’re the first ones out today, the only tracks in the snow, save for an occasional hungry, brave squirrel.  It’s perfect solitude.

The snow tapered off and stopped as I walked. I’d forgotten the work it takes to move through heavy snow this way.  Chickadees and sparrows are calling.  In the distance, I hear a melodious song that isn’t familiar.  It sounds like spring.  It doesn’t look like spring.

My snowshoes compress the snow in a soft “whomp” with each step, absent the high-pitched squeak of the bitter cold snow. A breeze picks up and I hear a soft swoosh as it sweeps through the treetops like a gentle ocean wave.  As the wind intensifies, the tall elms begin to sway, squeaking against each other chattering like dolphins.

The Wind Blows from the Right
The Wind Blows from the Right
As I turned from the prairie back into the shelter of the woods, I noticed a hawk circling high overhead, a dark gray silhouette gliding through a gray sky.  In the woods, out of the wind, the snow piles high on limbs and seed heads.

A set of cross country ski tracks breaks my solitude.  But they are not fresh, I am still out here alone.  Whoever left these tracks was here much earlier this morning.  I’m delighted to know that others come here to share in the peace of this place. In knowing, there is caring.  And in caring, there is conservation. We’re sharing these woods just the same.

Partners on the Trail
My Path Alongside the Skier’s Path
I continued on, around a horse jump piled so high with snow that it is a much more formidable barrier today.  A large flock of geese squawks loudly overhead as they take advantage of the break in the weather.  They sound like they’re having a heated disagreement, but its probably just normal chatter.  With a snapping of twigs and the zip of his slippery nylon coat through the understory, Bridger pops out to check in with me and quickly disappears again.

He finds his own enjoyment out here, part in the running and part in the finding.  No matter where he roams, he’s always keeping an eye on me.

There’s no better way to spend a snow day.

Snowy Creek
Snowy Creek