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Winter: A morning meditation

winter-walkway.JPGIt is snowing. Lightly. Soft flurries that dance to the earth, not in the wild frenzy of a winter storm but rather, in a time-honored waltz that whispers “I’m here, come out and walk with me!” So what if it is -4. There is no wind, ergo, no wind chill.

A half hour before, I unfurled myself from the toasty warmth of wooley blankets and prepared to meet the day. Destination: computer lab. I step from my dorm to the outdoors when the magic of that gentle snow happened. In the lamplight, the ground (which is measured in feet of snow) sparkled with the crystalline glitter of well chilled granular snow, diamonds and shards of silver reflecting light. From the low roofline of the Clockhouse (below) icicles are measured by the yard, growing downward, earthbound and more weighty with each new inch.


I am the only one up and about, just me,  with a fleece scarf loosely hung around my neck, my wool coat still unbuttoned, gloves neatly folded in the pocket.

I am diverted from my mission. I feel the snowflakes kiss my face, fall lightly on my shoulder as I crunch forward slowly for this morning walk. It has been a while since I heard the sharp crunch of snow beneath my feet. Snow always crunches, or squishes, and sifts softly; today though, it is the harsher crunch of crystals frozen to below zero chill. There is a difference. Yet it is not quite cold enough for the trees to crack, to scream as the water, the sap inside freezes, splitting the wood.

outside-kilpatrickco.JPGI remember a winter at my friend’s home on her mountain, a cold night when we passed -40. A few years ago, when my friend was a maple syrup maker, I stood with her family on the deck, listening to the snap, crackle, pop and crash of trees in her sugar bush, already weighed down with ice, protesting winter, thunder-like sounds of trees with trunks snapping as easily as matchsticks at the whim of Mother Earth’s polar cold.

It’s not quite that cold here yet, though a strong inhale draws the cold in — you can feel it freeze the moisture in your nose; it’s why so many wear mufflers, those scarves tied up high to cover the face and keep the air you breathe in warm.

I pause to listen to the silence. I am the only being (human) already up and out. I have the solitude I crave. I stand, loosely still, as the crystals glide across the air. I look back at my solitary footprints in that powdered sugar dusting of snow before moving on.

This morning is the perfect morning: calm crisp air, enough lamplight to turn the flurries to a bejeweled flutter that soothes the spirit before the intrusion of the day.

Photos by Christine Piesyk


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