(Reposting this from December 7 after it reverted to a draft for some reason)

A few days ago I said let it snow, and 1200 miles of driving in it constantly across the middle and Southern Tier of New York and through Massachusetts and New Hampshire I regret not being more specific in my statement. Lake Effect snow made Upstate New York a snow globe, and bands of snow stayed with me all the way back. Slushy roads and slippery when wet caution cones mocked my dress shoes the entire week, and I deserved the mockery for leaving my boots and waterproof hiking shoes sitting in the car instead of on my feet. I know better but slipped and slid my way along anyway. Common sense did not prevail in footwear this week.

Still, there’s nothing like fresh snow on a sunny morning, and I can finally pause long enough to appreciate it. It’s a stark background that pushes things that normally recede into the background forward. Hillsides of gray and black tree trunks rolled in waves alongside me for much of the week. Back home with the sun unmasked for the first time in a week, I watch the dance of illumination and shadow as sunbeams find their way through the woods with no leaves to block them as they explore. Puffs of snow drift of branches, stirred by the wind, mixing with rays of light and remind me the woods are never still, even after snowfall. Looking deeper into the woods squirrels scurry about, puffy gray tails bouncing all the while, in search of food hidden under the snow. Birds zip to the feeder and back to cover, always watchful for hawks and neighborhood cats. I wonder at the performance as my indoor cat snacks me with her tail, yearning to be free of the glass keeping her from the hunt.

Those birds demand attention, and I count dozens moving in turns to the feeder. Food brings life to the stark backyard of winter, and it enlivens this cat’s tail as I write. Empty mug and stomach are looking for attention to, and this writing session comes to an end. The empty page soon filled with words, like tree trunks on a snowy hill, and I’m grateful for the inspiration.