It’s official. The snow is so deep in the backyard that the cellar windows are completely blocked, and when you look out, all you see is a white wall. As my daughter Shannon put it, we have gotten four feet of snow in one week. Surely that must be some kind of record for the most snow in the shortest amount of time. With all this snow, those who ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile must be pretty darned happy.
It has also been very cold, which makes the snow light and subject to drifting. Even in our yard, which is surrounded by trees and thus shielded from the wind, the snow has been sculpted into huge mounds. On this sunny day, the blue-shadowed snow surrounds the little house in the big woods, and it reminds me of a desert, with shifting snow rather than shifting sand.
The next four days, the weather is supposed to be fairly decent, with perhaps just a bit of snow—four inches or so—to remind us that winter still has a grip on us.
With all the clean-up we must do, I can’t call winter restful. There’s nothing relaxing about hours of shoveling day after day. Still, despite the hard work, I am dazzled by the beauty of this desert of snow I find myself in.
Soon I will go out to do more shoveling. Soon I will refill the bird feeders that have been mobbed by hungry birds—finches, titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers, and blue jays. The mourning doves, crows, and squirrels hunt for fallen seed in the snow. After I fill the feeders, I will be sure to scatter seed for them, too. Little tunnels indicate other rodents gather seed beneath the feeders.
These creatures somehow survive the cold weather. Fluffy feathers, thick fur, underground burrows all help. But I am grateful for my own snug home and my well-stocked pantry and freezer, filled with so many good things.
Soup will soon be on the menu. Warm, nourishing, economical, exactly the right kind of meal when you are surrounded by a snow desert.