Standing on the porch, twilight dusk filling all the shadows to darkness. The air is still, trees are calm, the world seems to be holding its breath against the penetrating cold. I stand and listen, the only sound beyond my own heart beat and breathing is a muffled constant soft hushed hissing sound, like white noise. I realize it is the flowing water in the creek muted by the covering of snow and ice. The water flows all winter under the ice, but it too is silenced by the oppressive cold. I stand and listen to the impressive silence, no creaking of frozen branches, no musical tones of wind chimes, no soft skittering sounds of small burrowing rodents or wandering night creatures. Nothing but complete silence. It is breath taking, this numbing cold silence, while the brilliant stars come out and twinkle in my eyes one by one.
Pulling into the driveway, home from work, the twilight fading into winter darkness. I see large shapes moving at the far end of the yard. I stop the car mid turn, letting the headlights stop their sweeping arc and illuminate the garden and field beyond. A group of White Tailed Deer is nosing in the snow foraging for meager sustenance. Several grown females and a couple of yearlings notice my car and move away. The first bounding into the trees with white tail high, flashing a warning, the next few trotting quickly, the next couple no longer excited by my small “threat” walk off and disappear into the dark forest.
Crystalline darkness, purple haze, dark trees trunks and clattering branches, so cold that breath turns solid and falls like glitter into nothingness. Frigid black sky dome pierced with blue burning stars, their tiny light reaching across the cosmos to twinkle in my eyes. A large cold moon rises just above the hill, casting purple shadows across the glowing snowscape. Reflected moonlight on the snow is almost as bright daylight, but softer and much colder. The air is blue and purple and the ground is glowing while the big crystal moon rises higher above her domain. Reach out and touch the darkness, the blue moonlight shining on earth and above, become the moonlight, shifting shadows, and dizzy dreams.
Coming home from Hudson, on a hill overlooking the River and the escarpment of the Catskill Mountains. The mountains are a dark purple blue mass against a yellow sunset sky. Random billowing clouds of falling snow glow peach and gold in the sun beams emanating from behind the mountains where the sun set a few minutes before. The light bluish snow covered ground looks like lace through the black leafless trees on the peaks. Every time I am in a spot that looks out over these mountains, with them rising in the distance like a landscape dream, I think (and often say out loud) “That is where I live!” This view is awe inspiring, breath taking, fascinating, bewitching, sublime and serene. Ever present, ever changing, mountain moods, mountains move me. I am but a mere reflection of mountain spirit, my eye mirrors to the mountain goddess.
Awoke this morning to find snow falling on top of snow that fell overnight. Several inches of fresh fluffy pure white snow for Christmas morning. I have never really been sentimental about white Christmases the way the many people are. As an adult, Christmas is really just another day very similar to the rest. I get up, I go to work, I come home. However I was exceptionally pleased that it snowed for Christmas this year. I think I just like watching the snow fall, the subdued quietness it brings to the forest, the fact that you can see evidence of every critter that passes by the tracks it leaves behind, the way the landscape looks magical in its winter wonderland attire. Fresh fallen snow is enchanting and exciting, and this year it was perfect for Christmas morning!
I did my own little snowshoe trek after work today, vaguely trying to get in shape for guiding snow shoe tours. Started off on the same trail as before, tromped across the mountain, looking uphill at every ski trail crossing so as not to get hammered. Looking downhill at the lodge, the town, the valley, and the mountains beyond. The whole sky and landscape mirror each other in a uniform dark blue grey. It’s late afternoon, and I think the sun has slipped below the western horizon, but the dim blue grey light seems unchanged in intensity as the day progressed. Heavy low clouds linger around the black mountaintops, loitering like bores teenagers, waiting for darkness to fall. I find and follow an unused bike trail that goes off through the woods, picking my way over unseen rocks and divots in the uneven snow covered ground, my snow shoes making long oval tracks in the fresh granular snow drifting through the woods from the snow guns. It is darker in the trees, through some tangled brambles I see a sparsely covered closed ski trail and head for that. Breaking from the tree cover, a purple grey sky greets me as the last light leaves the open sky settling in the west as a violent purple glow that will soon be swallowed by encroaching darkness. I head downhill and back to the lodge through the purple night.
Had a check to deposit, and errands to do, so I drove down the mountain stopping at the bank chain along the way. It is frigid today, didn’t want to get out of the car, so went through the drive through (not something I usually do). As I drove behind the building, I looked out over the field across the highway and right there front and center was a Bald Eagle majestically hovering on the air currents, white head and tail flashing bright in the winter sunlight. Stopping the car, I watched this eagle soar and dip searching for prey. I watched it until it was nothing put a distant unidentifiable speck in the blue sky. I thought of saying something to the teller, then realized that they would never have seen it, because the window faces the parking lot, not the fields. Oh well, my little secret bald Eagle flying over Cairo, NY.