On Sunday morning, flakes turned from drifters to thick clumps of stars, not sparkly, but a dense white feathering over the whole world. I had been watching for buds, but this was more beautiful than I had imagined a world of green being, our Easter renewal.
The past week has felt almost stagnantly normal. In the few moves I've made, I'm surprised how quickly huge changes become routine and how quickly normal itself can change.
Even now, I've forgotten what the inside of my home dishwasher looks like. And the smell of our hand soap. I haven't ironed a shirt in ages, thanks to my MIL's generosity, or had to pick up groceries. The changes have touched every moment of our time, and yet, the same frustrations and joys in New York are mainly the same halfway across the continent: a bird's song twirling down over us like colorful ribbons. A frozen computer. The 'hello' of a passerby (
take that back, no one says hi in NYC on walks). A warm meal with conversation. And snow's delight.
And on Easter morning, we woke to calm and quiet that would slowly, throughout the day, become a faster and richer fall of snow. We had almost no snow this winter in New York, and so it felt even more surprising. Late in the afternoon, we layered on down and fur and hand warmers (my actual favorite thing) to be in the world made soft.
Throughout the walk (admittedly interspersed with 1. Me having to walk back to the house to get another lens, swaddle it in a large plastic lens bag, and avoid snow splatter by passing cars 2. Large clumps of snow blowing off the tops of pines to find our hoods and 3. Me saying that I'm not at 10/10 cold, but it is still not warm), I was surprised just how the snow put a damper on my metabolism. Slowly. Walk slowly. Watch the woods fill up with snow. Fill up with snow.
Here I am sporting my new accessory: a wet, plastic camera bag.
I don't have to wax or wane poetic about the snow's deep pleasure; others have before me far better. The words of Robert Frost floated around me the whole time we walked through the calm downfall: "He does not see me stopping here / To watch the woods fill up with snow . . . .The only other sound’s the sweep / Of easy wind and downy flake."
The pleasure of watching the woods fill up with snow was so deep and wide and everywhere that I could not count or see all of the shapes and branch bends and leaves coated with purity.
The stillness was just what my frazzled, overtired, under slept, headachy head needed.
Birds chirped, and knocked the snow off the branches they landed upon, the dry snow denting the smooth cover below.
And it was the known transience that simultaneously made me full and like I needed to soak this moment for everything. Snow does that. Be here, be now, that's all.
Today, we are already in melt, and when I walked the woods this morning, two days later, there were just a few mounds clinging to branches. The lake was soft and flowing. The grass was still green, where it had been half a foot covered 24 hours ago.
Is it this leaving that makes being in a snowy landscape so precious? The miracle of it is its quick transformation, and the speed of ebb and flow, makes what we saw feel dreamlike already.
When we left Fogo Island, about a month ago now, a fellow traveler said to us "This will all feel like a dream in a few weeks." We have thought often how true he was. And now, as I both long for the spring I know, home, and also, the staying power of presence wherever I am, I look again at this dream of a storm, and know in a month, it too will be such.
One thing I kept looking at were how the snow made the branches feel like a shadow of themselves, the snow they held so much deeper then their own presence.
Those little branches, and big branches, held more than their weight.
We are still getting spits of squalls daily here. A robin tries to break our bedroom glass every morning with his inch-long beak. I think he thinks he lives here. I scare him away with a shirt. I try not to make a metaphor of his confused behavior.
I think all I am really thinking is how fast beauty comes and leaves, how precious for that, how normal life can be that way, too. Now, I am waiting to watch the woods fill up with buds.