Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Gentle Blanket

 Slowly the snow began almost with the day's light and I have watched the gentle blanket being pulled across the landscape. It is unbelievably soft and is settling at a pace almost too slow to notice. And yet the inches are adding up.

 I have found my usual spot on the sofa, brought a cup of hot mint tea, spread an afghan across my lap and opened my book. It is a slow day for me, too. Every now and then a car or truck will pass the house, muffled by the snow on the roadway, inching their way somewhere. They are in no hurry, either.
 The local school closed its door before the first bell rang. North of us, that school district is dismissing two hours early. The Germantown Library closed at 2 p.m. The world is slowly preparing to go back to bed.
 When I pull the thin white curtains aside, the arbor vitae is gathering snow, cotton soft, about its outer branches. They are beginning to dip a bit under the weight. In the background the snow falls relentlessly but at so gentle a pace and of the sort that is so powdery and light to be almost a meteorological afterthought. It is not snowing in earnest.
 And yet where has the ground cover come from? It is that same languid pace from youth through middle age to the elderly. Who saw it happen?
 Tonight they say the wind will whip up and drift this light snow about. I'l marvel at the drifts in the morning, how something so little can become so significant. But mostly I will marvel that mere clouds, ephemeral moisture, can fall so gently and make a significant difference in but a handful of hours. Keep an eye out, I tell myself. It is all changing before my eyes. Pay attention to this lesson taught. Blink and it is a different day.