Monday, February 8, 2010

COLD, FOG, SUN, SPARKLE

The day began with the coldest temperature reading so far this winter—minus 2˚F at 6:30 a.m. When I stepped off the deck and ambled over to the river, I knew it was below-zero because the snow screaked underfoot. That's my word for it—a sound sort of halfway between a squeak and a crunch. I've been tromping around in snow for enough years that I'm getting to be a pretty fair judge of such esoteric matters.
The sun wasn't quite up, but there was light in the sky and the snow-covered earth of the island across from the cottage seemed to give off its own pale glow—enough that I could see a thin, spectral fog rising off the water and hovering in the air above the riffle.
Cardinals, impatient for their breakfast grain, called from nearby trees. I turned back, tossed them their allotted scoops, checked the seed and suet feeders, and made sure I knew where Moon the dog had wandered off to as she made her snuffling perambulations around the yard. Keeping track of a white-and-brown dog in a white-and-brow landscape isn't as easy as you'd think. Sometimes when I whistle and yell, threatening all manner of retributions, I'm chagrined to find her standing beside me, giving me that I-have-a-fool-for-a-master look which all dogs employ when you're in obvious need of a good humbling.
As it turned out, Moon was over near the juniper bushes, seeing what she could flush from their tangled interior. The sun was just making its way above the eastern hill, seeming to get tangled momentarily in my neighbor's evergreens. The morning arrived with peach-pink light, which washed over and colorized everything from water to snow to icicles. A tree sparrow sang a couple of high sweet notes.
An hour later the fog had evaporated and the peach-pink light had been replaced by a strong blue sky. The world was a'dazzle, sparkling in the sunlight. It made your heart sing to just to stand beneath all that energy and look up look up.
The river was an indigo ribbon, a blue so deep and intense it could have been dyed with ink. Arterial liquid of a wintery land, running, pouring, catching the sun and mirroring the trees on either bank.
Now the day is winding down. The sun is on its downhill path to the western horizon. The sky is gold. It is still cold, but above zero, probably in the low 20s, though I'm too lazy to check. There are mallards, up from the river, feeding on the last of the corn by the front deck. In a minute, after they've finished and flown off, I'll go outside and toss out another scoop for the birds, a bedtime snack in case anyone's still hungry.
Then I'll build a fire in the front room and watch the sunset, quietly savoring whatever develops.

8 comments:

Bernie said...

I don't think anyone can describe a setting better than you can Grizz, absolutely beautiful words as are your pictures.

Does everyone in Ohio get up so early?............:-) Hugs

Wanda said...

I enjoyed your discription of a fine day, however these are the lines that stood out today and made me smile....

Sometimes when I whistle and yell, threatening all manner of retributions, I'm chagrined to find her standing beside me,

It is still cold, but above zero, probably in the low 20s, though I'm too lazy to check.

Then I'll build a fire in the front room and watch the sunset, quietly savoring whatever develops.

Hope tomorrow is a good day too!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Thank you for such a nice compliment. I hope you can "see" through my eyes when you read a post…that's the idea, anyway.

Nahhh…some really lazy Buckeyes sleep in until 7:00.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

The words re. the dog are absolutely true—I can't tell you how often, even in the day, I look all around for her, thinking she's slipped off on me again, and it turns out she right beside me…sometimes helping me look.

I did look after I write that line—22˚F the weatherman said. Good guess, huh?

You can't hurry a sunset—just gotta wait it out.

Tramp said...

...the snow screaked underfoot...
Lovely word, I can hear a creak in there too. And it's the sort of sound that has a feel to it as well.
Some German travellers I met referred to very cold snow as "metal eis", have you felt a ringing sound as you tromped (another fine word) around in the snow?

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

Oh my how I love these winter scenes you so completely captured. and you words that describe it all??!! such as......."the river was an indigo ribbon, a blue so deep and intense it could have been dyed with ink. Arterial liquid of a wintery land, running, pouring, catching the sun and mirroring the trees on either bank...................."

My goodness - breath taking. I love the world through your eyes, heart, wisdom and intent - it is all so meaningful in the most natural and life-giving of ways.
Love to you my friend
Gail
peace......

p.s. we are getting about a foot of snow here tomorrow!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

I do believe I know what those German travelers are talking about…sometimes, when it's really cold, and I'm talking the minus teens or minus 20s˚F, the snow develops a bell-like ringing quality. I think I've read that it comes from the way the extra-hard ice crystals rub against each other. There's a definite musicality, a soft, pure tone. Yesterday morning, this quality had not quite formed—the sound was "waxy" more screechy/creaky/crunchy, or screaky.

I'm sure someone who's spent time afield up North, where it's really cold and snowy, would be able to distinguish quite a number of different temperature related snow sounds, not to mention all sorts of different types and qualities of snow.

Oh, and you're right that my screaky snow has a different feel underfoot—maybe that's where the waxy rubbing comes in, but there's certainly a unique tactile feel.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

I hope that photo, when double-clicked and enlarged, does show the dark, dark blue of the water, an almost dyed look.

It is snowing again here, has snowed a little bit during the night; maybe 3-4 more inches down on top of the old snow and more (I hope!) to come. Lovely, lovely, lovely!

Hey, be sure and let me know how that pup takes to your foot of snow when it comes. That ought to be fun for both of you.