The snow has been falling for three days, and the trees are heavy with white as the snow inches up hour by hour. Sometimes, the flakes, tiny and hard to see, rush to meet the ground. At other times they are big and thick, and float lazily down. Falling snow has the same hypnotic effect as a flowing stream or a blazing fire, and it’s hard for me to look away.
The storm reduces the landscape to white, grey, and black. The sky is a pearl, thick with snow not yet fallen or perhaps, already on its way down. Wind currents cause the snow to swirl as it reaches for the ground.
My world has gotten smaller as the snow diminishes my visibility, and I am left with the room where I sit, the window by my chair, and the bush just outside the window where the chickadees wait for their turn at the feeder.
The pine siskins quarrel with one another as they eat bird seed on my window ledge. Huddled against the cold, they look through the window pane, reminding me of urchins in a Dickens novel.
My thoroughly-housed cat crouches in nervous and impotent anticipation. The siskins are single-minded in their devotion to eating until the cat, unable to contain herself any longer, springs toward them, hitting the glass. The birds fly away in a frenzy of flapping wings, winnowing the chaff from the seeds. The embarrassed cat applies herself to grooming, and after a moment, the birds settle in again, looking like black letters on a white page.
When a storm like this is in full sway, it seems that the snow is all that has ever existed. It is impossible for me to imagine the sky as clear, blue, and limitless. This low, opaque sky is my only reality.
Perhaps, tomorrow, the storm will have passed, and the sun will be out again enforcing the colors of blue and green, giving a sparkling clarity to the white, and causing the fir trees to dump their loads. I will put on my parka and boots, grab my snow shovel, and blaze a trail to the mailbox. I will gaze, with eyes made tearful by the brilliance, at the snow-covered peaks on the northern horizon.
But, for now, I welcome the imposed solitude the storm brings as it draws its gauzy curtains of falling snow around me.