Reflections on a late March winter storm

Day 1

Small ice balls sting my face as I head to my car, home beckoning

Winter storms and early closings, gifts to be treasured, precious in their rarity

Safely inside my home, ice balls which can no longer sting my skin, fling themselves against the picture windows, obscuring the clarity of the view with their tears

Their cacophony sending the dogs pacing first to the front door, then to the back, curious to see who has come to visit, someone (something) is knocking after all

The symphony of sound accompanies us all evening and as we retire to sleep

Day 2

The morning dawns gray and overcast

The quiet, an obvious contrast to last night’s noise, is almost deafening

Ice balls firmly frozen to the ground make walking less treacherous than if it had been smooth

A light coating of snow – the ice must have given way at some point as we slept – gives further traction to our steps

We enter a winter wonderland, one that escaped us in winter, but which has come to us in spring

The quiet of the morning, sound muted by the snow, a sharp contrast to the noise of last evening’s ice

River birch, aspen, maple trees, shrouded in ice, bend down to kiss the earth

I hope that when they shed their icy coats, they will again reach for the sky – I fear that some will be lost, not flexible enough to withstand the encounter

On our walk, the dogs root out ice balls, fling them in the air, catch them in what can only be called pure pleasure, chomping away –  Who knew that dogs found such enjoyment in ice balls!

A three-wheeler driving father races up and down the street towing two flailing, giggling toddlers on a sled

Merlin and Jami want to take chase

I move them steadily toward the field where they can run freely

I laugh at their play, crazy eights around me, plowing into and through snow drifts, sometimes wrestling, rolling on their backs, sometimes racing one another away from, back to, me

Snow falling harder now, almost horizontally, small, almost invisible flakes

New dogs appear, mine approach, a low whistle from beyond the tree line calls the others off as unseen people choose a different route

“Come” I call. Jami and Merlin turn to me, look back once, decide to follow

Homeward we turn, into the wind

Snow covered muzzles, icy paws, wet fur

 I tend to the dogs, drying them, warming them

Then lying in front of the fireplace to warm, the little dog curled in the big dog’s tail, they sleep as the silent blanket of snow falls harder

Two small sparrows take shelter under the chairs on my deck, leaving small, sharp footprints in the snow

Near sunset, neighbor children build a miniature Stonehenge in their back yard, the setting sun gleaming, for the first time today, off their masterpiece

The icy world of yesterday has given way to the snowy wonderland of today

Day 3

The dogs wake, again to a different winter wonderland, more snow to roll in, to throw, but today, a crispy coating covers what yesterday was powder making our steps crackle as we walk

I wonder if it will hold our weight …  It does

Later, I shovel a third of a foot of drifted snow, heavy with water off the porch

I chip 6 inches of ice pack off the driveway, helped along by a friendly neighbor and the sheet of water below

The day is warming

A stream of fast moving water runs in the street

Today sound has returned to the world, loud crackeling sound, as ice cloaks are released from tree branches, as icicles fall from rooftops, and as snow slides off roofs

Again the dogs assume visitors and run to and from the doors

Cabin fever strikes and I head for lunch to a favorite coffee house for a chicken-salad salad and a chai latte, then to the bookstore for a bit of interaction with other humans

I return to the dogs and decide on another walk

This time I notice different sounds, bird sounds

The thrum of air around the wings of startled ducks who fly low inside a narrow water-filled channel tickles the soles of my feet

The whistle of air through the wings of geese as they glide into a pond, landing in the water whooshing to a stop

The song of birds who trust again that spring is here

We head for the field, past neighbors in shorts shoveling snow, unwilling to give winter another minute’s hold over them

Today too muddy for field frolicking, we walk fast, taking in the fresh air, dog heads held high, tails wagging

Near sunset again, the chill in the breeze more pronounced, we turn toward home

Trees again stand upright having shaken off their brief encounter with the earth

The everyday world of tasks and jobs beckons, the magical time-between-time almost over

I have cherished these three days; I will carry these sights and sounds with me, back to the time-bound world, tomorrow 

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