Not long after dawn yesterday morning, I opened the door and stepped onto the porch, whereupon I discovered my beloved ol' riverbank all decked out in a soft mantle of radiant white. The season's first snowfall had arrived during the night—a dazzling couple of inches of fluffy, sticky snow that had pasted itself to the sides of the trees and also lay in cottony clumps along the tops of even the smallest branches. Moreover, it was still snowing—a steady pouring of fine flakes I could just hear sifting down in a sweet, sibilant whisper.
The light was soft and flat, an indistinct luminescent coming from the blanketing white clouds. Trees and their limbs seemed etched against the merging of earth and sky. Only the river moved, a slow ribbon of pale icy-green water.
As snowfalls go, this initial go-around was like a first kiss—gentle, thrilling, but lacking in that depth of intensity needed to award it points for real full-spirited passion. Some things just need time to build, to work themselves out; there's a grace period of exploration and awakening, like the way good wine finds its life amid the darkness of a charred oak barrel. Maturity and strength are mysterious forces, a sort of natural alchemy, and they're seldom found early on. No doubt we'll see heavier, more vigorous snows later in the season. After all, yesterday was still two days short of being officially winter.
My coughing has lessened these past few days. With luck, I'll be well by Christmas. But everything has a time and season; plans made ought to be kept if at all possible—especially if they're important.
I enjoyed a brief walk-around along the riverbank while Moon the dog attended to her business and checked under the junipers for bivouacking sparrows. Then I filled the seed feeders, scattered cracked corn on the ground and on various rocks and stumps, tossed the ducks their breakfast scoops. Chores complete, I came back in and built a fire on the hearth, poured a second cup of coffee while the flames came to life, snapping and popping through the dry kindling and snow-wet large sticks and smaller splits. The day ahead held a long list of important and necessary things to do—a bit of housekeeping, a package or two wrap, a card to write…and a lovely, wonderful lady to get married to in the afternoon.