I like going outside on a snowy day and just looking around. The yard has a shallow layer of white icing. The snow is light and fluffy, like soap flakes, not sticky at all. When the birds flutter around in the brush, they knock loose falls of snowflakes. The Midwinter grove of evergreens is thickly frosted, like a scene from a Christmas card. There are tufts of snow all over the prairie garden, caught in clots on the thistle heads and feathering the cups of Queen Anne's lace like little nests. The yard is traced with the tracks of rabbits and squirrels, even pheasants, although hard to see with snow this thin and loose. Underfoot the ground crunches with frosted leaves, grass, and bits of ice. Pale yellow sunlight slants across the frozen fields in bands of white-gold and long blue shadows. The breeze is brisk and cutting, not quite wind, but with a sharp northerly bite even at low levels. My breath smokes in the cold air.
This is the dreaming season, when the Earth sleeps, restiing up for the busyness of spring. I walk through a world that is quiet except for the crunch of my footsteps, still except for the stirring of birds. There is a brightness to it, even amidst the cool, colorful shadows. Every flake of snow catches and reflects the least light, like a winking of dreams in the darkness of sleep. The sun, sinking westward, tints from white-gold toward copper, gilding the tips of the trees where tufts of snow glitter. It is the imagery of winter, one of my favorite seasons, that fills me slowly like snowflakes filling a quiet corner. And that's a good thing to bring back inside when I come in.