I’ve just come inside from shoveling the two inches of light and fluffy snow that fell overnight. This was an “easy” shovel – I could have almost used a broom to sweep the snow aside. While doing this, I was thinking about all the variances that occur during our winter season. Snow can also be wet and heavy, collecting on the ground like cement and requiring a good back and strong arm muscles to shovel and heave it into a pile. This winter we’ve also had rain – it fell on top of the snow that had already accumulated. Then the temperatures plummeted and the rain turned to ice. The alleys now have ruts in them from the car tracks that melted and then refroze. This last “clipper” of dry fluffy snow has moved through the area and is now allowing the colder Arctic air to flow in; our temperatures have started their descent and will continue into the sub-zeros tonight. Winter – it comes in so many ways.

But last Saturday morning the landscape came to life in another way. The gray day dawned with the color white everywhere, placed on shapes and forms. The cold morning with the moisture in the air caused the fog to freeze, coating the trees and fence wires. In a drab landscape there was an amazing brightness. The lack of a blue and sparkling sky allowed the snow to reflect the gray above, muting the contrast between the black tree trunks and the frozen frosting. Jack Frost had conspired with Mother Nature to give us a beautiful landscape

Frost and snow

With snow and temperatures below freezing our winter seems to be more “winter-like” now. We’ve enjoyed many mornings of freezing fog that coats the trees and vegetation with frost and a layer of white. With this rime ice the landscape seems magical, as if Mother Nature has used a paint brush and coated every branch with white. When the sun has appeared (which hasn’t been often) there’s been a beautiful contrast with the blue sky and the ice giving us that “winter wonderland” sensation.

For me this appreciation of the beauty of nature has been an escape from the sad events and turmoil that have roiled our country. I hope each of you has found a moment of peace, whether in nature, with friends, pets, or in the quiet of your own mind.