Paean To Snow

By Posted on Feb 10 2010 | By

White. The traditional color for love, purity, innocence, and of course, weddings. It reflects light and enhances all the other colors of the spectrum. Yet, mention it in the context of snow and the reaction is often, “Oh no.”

Here in Virginia, the 2009-10 winter has been the snowiest in several years. It’s mid-February and much of our state lies under a soft layer of white. Many parts of the Old Dominion have had over 50 inches of snow this winter. Reagan National Airport has recorded 54.9 inches, breaking a record for the Nation’s Capital set back in 1899.

And spring is still weeks away. By comparison, last year we had an average of less than ten inches statewide.

But as troublesome and aggravating as a heavy snowfall can be, its negative impact is eased by the beauty and serenity of snowflakes falling gently upon a dreary winter landscape. Gazing out the window of our home office, as snow slowly accumulates on lawn and forest, I undergo a transformation of mind and spirit. A sizeable snowfall on a cold wintry day comes close to being a magical thing, especially in light of today’s world of political discontent, economic hardship and security threats.

Snow transports us to another, more perfect world, if only for a short time. Embracing its gentle softness can let our minds drift with each falling flake. Soon enough, like life itself, the beauty will fade.

The scenes of a snowfall panorama are varied. In our world of rural Virginia, it’s the finches scampering and fluttering on top of the fallen white crest, feeding on seed we have scattered on the surface. Later in the afternoon, a small herd of deer, led by a young buck with a perfect eight-point rack, nibble on birdseed the squirrels and birds missed earlier in the day.

As evening draws closer, our feral cat—dubbed “Boots” because of his four white paws—wanders out of the woods looking for his bowl of Friskies located under the porch. And we wonder, how does he survive these frigid nights and deep snows? And where does he meander off to as the sun settles behind the hills to our west? Nature. Survival. Amazing.

Of course, there is work associated with this dreamscape. Shoveling walks, snow blowing driveways, cleaning vehicles laden with layers of white, and making runs to the grocery store between storms to maintain stocks of milk, bread and the important paper products.

But as the last light of day fades into soft purple hues, I start the fire in our wood burning stove and deal with the hard issues of life. “Viognier or Cabernet Franc tonight, hon?”  Hmmmm…no immediate response.  And then from upstairs, “Well, we’re having lamb stew, what do you think?”

Oh, that’s an easy one.  I pour two small glasses of Viognier that will serve as an opening aperitif, and then decant a bottle of Cabernet Franc to be enjoyed later with Jean’s world-class stew.

The winter’s been harsh.  The cold grows wearisome.  But life is good.

Perhaps we owe it all to snow.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES