Wednesday morning I gave the old broom a workout, sweeping aside snow that came in the night. It was the first time since who knows when that there was enough snow to shovel.
I look forward to mornings like these. I can't resist taking a walk over the freshly covered ground, searching out new discoveries in the snow. The cardinals seem a brighter red as they clash with white-blanketed branches and grape vines. On my way through the yard, I stopped to brush away crow tracks on the bird feeder. I heard cawing from the nearby woods as the two black crows flew up from the trees.
I followed the tracks of a raccoon along the banks of the stream to where he crossed a snow covered log to get to the other side. The log was large enough for me to cross as well, but the slippery snow made me think better of it. I also saw the tracks of three white-tailed deer leading up to the creek and reappearing on the opposite side. They had no trouble jumping the watery span, but I wasn't taking any chances.
As I returned to the yard, a cottontail rabbit beat a hasty retreat to the snow-covered brush pile. He had been nosing through the snow on the ground under the bird feeder for seed. Before going into the house, I swept away some of the snow under the feeders. Then I sprinkled some cracked corn on the ground for the bunny.
The beautiful snowfall ended just before dark, leaving a total of 3-4 inches. Later the moon shone between fluffy clouds. It's a rare treat to have a bright moon and fresh snowfall; the moonlight dances on every surface in the snow-covered landscape. I had to sweep again, but the dazzling beauty made it worth the work. Before bed I took a walk along the creek and let this special winter night consume me. The powdery snow offered little resistance to my warm boots as I blazed a trail back along the edge of the woods. There wasn't any sound except the snow crunching under my feet. At the edge of the woods, every branch of the large oak tree was outlined in black and white. Bushes I hardly notice all year also stood out now in their bright winter clothes.
The sky was clearing and I knew it was going to get cold for the next few days. It always seems to get much colder after a snowfall.
The arrival of snow makes it feel like a normal winter. Only yesterday, the landscape was bleakly monotone. Today there is a complete turnaround as mother nature's paint brush turned everything white.
The weatherman said that yesterday some areas in the eastern U.S. got as much as 43 inches of snow from a single snowfall. It's hard to believe; here in southwest Wisconsin we haven't had 43 inches of total snow in four years.
The next time there is a fresh new snow, take the opportunity to bundle up, put on some warm boots and make tracks of your own.
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