At Last, I Get to Wear My Boots
The first snow of the season is thick on the ground, and winter is finally behaving like it should. I make no apologies for loving every flake, every drift, every schlufffff sound my boots make as I walk to the rabbit hutches to replace their frozen water bottles with thawed ones, and scoop the little green feed pellets they love so much into their makeshift dishes (vintage mid-century modern ashtrays, a couple of thrift store cereal bowls abandoned by the sets they once belonged to). I’m wearing my headlamp but really don't need it; the glow from the vast expanse of snowfall beneath my feet offers plenty of light for these pre-dawn chores.
It’s glorious, this weather, this day.
Every tree branch, fairy garden prop, handmade lawn art sculpture, bottle tree, birdfeeder and gourd birdhouse wears a pristine and tall white snow-wool cap, waiting for the photo shoot people to arrive (they’re not coming, but that doesn’t matter). The weather-guessers predicted “up to 9 inches”, and offered the usual snow-to-rain equivalents data, and I rarely find that comparison interesting or helpful. I’d rather just enjoy the snow as snow, and not the torrential disaster it might have been if the red line on the thermometer was taller. Can’t we live in the present, people? I’ll try to be more understanding.
It’s entertaining to watch our newest egg layers, six sweet little Cuckoo Marans, stretch their naked yellow feet to reach past the doorway of the coop, gingerly dipping a toe (claw? talon?) into the fluff of white in the run where their feeder rests, ready for breakfast. It’s their first snow, so of course they’re cautious, and maybe a bit put off, mixed with mild curiosity. But when the older girls, our Golden Comets, barrel past them, pushing and shoving because they’ve seen the feeder, they know it’s time to eat and that’s all that matters, a would-be chicken “first snow” Hallmark moment dissolves into survival of the poultry fittest, and both varieties get about the business of establishing a hungry pecking order that will carry on until dusk. It’s all about the food for these ladies, and I envy them. My life is so full of other trivia. To be focused on food…ahh…
I bought a half-dozen flannel shirts from a few local Goodwills in the past couple of weeks, fascinated and eager to try fading them in a forced way—bleach, water and vinegar, and lots of hot water. Haven’t done it yet, and today, I’ve claimed my favorite one, a lovely blue/white plaid pattern with buttons at the cuff that allow me to adjust the fit at my wrists, to keep me warm over my other favorite shirt (a “Silent Weekend” jersey, purchased for the occasion of gathering with Deaf and hearing folks for a weekend of American Sign Language and camping, back when I was a student in the ASL/Deaf Studies program at Columbus State Community College). On top of these two layers, I add a gray OSU hooded sweatshirt, and then one of Patrick’s lumberjack jackets, a red Abercrombie & Fitch ski hat (another Goodwill find) and now I’m ready to take the trash to my truck, only eight feet from the porch. Overdressed, perhaps, but, I usually get curious beyond loading the truck bed on these short jaunts, and find myself down by the bridge, filling my mind and eyes with the paradox of rushing icy creek water, framed by snow frosting on the banks. I stand there, trying to receive a lovely mix of emotions rising to the surface—gratefulness, the ache of witnessing such beauty before me, delight, and some wincing regret at ever having to continue down the driveway to go to work, or the grocery store. I want to stay here uninterrupted by such folly. Forever. Extra layers of clothing give me the gift of remaining entranced and captivated by my surroundings without hunching my shoulders against the cold.
I know it will melt someday. Until then, I drink in the images as if I won’t wake up tomorrow to see them, and impulsively fling my arms open wide to match my grin.
No apologies for liking winter. Not a one.