How can you call it a storm when it’s so quiet, and when the world grows lighter, rather than darker, as the snow piles up? asks a newcomer to the northeast. It’s the wind, says a native, who has recently moved to a city so used to winter that the residents ride bicycles in the snow.
The wind spins around the trees like a pole dancer, leaving rings as wide as bicycle wheels.
Snow may evoke erasure and forgetfulness for us, but it doesn’t stop the squirrels from remembering where they buried each of their hundreds of acorns. In the depths of winter, scientists have discovered, gray squirrels not only mate, but they also eat like gourmands, savoring every bit of a nut after the often laborious struggle to disinter it from the frozen ground. Snow turns these arboreal acrobats into divers.
The aptly named tuliptree catches snow in its dried seed-cups until they spill over. The slightest breath of wind is enough to scatter the whole banquet.
Fifteen inches of snow is enough to almost bury the shortest mountain laurel bushes. Leaf clumps protrude from the snow in the shape of Iron Crosses, as if a small division of German soldiers had perished here.
The cirrus clouds grow thinner and thinner, until by late morning the sun shines brightly for the first time since the storm began two days before. Now the snow is a screen for shadow plays with a simple, incremental narrative arc.
Little sunlight penetrates the spruce grove, where the snow is still making its way to the ground.
I walk bow-legged on webs of rawhide, in hoops of ash wood. There’s just enough snow to make it worth the effort to break trails for snowshoeing. After only an hour, muscles I haven’t used since last winter begin to register their complaints. Unlike walking on water, no faith is required — only patience, and the willingness to sink.
To view all the photos I took yesterday, click here.