It was fairly late Wednesday evening, and Bureau County had just a day earlier experienced its first major snowstorm of the season. Go figure ... the last few days of February — just when we were about to think we had it made — and Mother Nature pulled some shenanigans. What an unpredictable old woman she is ...
Anyway, most of you who know me also know I’m not a fan of snow. I try not to complain too much because after all, I’ve made the conscious decision to set up residency in the Midwest. If the snow is up to my elbows ... well, it’s nobody’s fault but my own.
But back to Wednesday night ... It was relatively late by my standards ... probably close to 10 p.m., and I remembered I had left something in my car. Ugh! The last thing I wanted to do was trudge through the cold and snow and retrieve the belongings I had left in my vehicle. Mumbling about my own forgetfulness, I threw on my jacket and headed to the garage.
Leaving the warmth of my home, the first thing that hit me when I stepped outside was the damp chill, yet for some reason, it didn’t really bother me. Actually, it felt somewhat invigorating, and quite frankly, I even thought about taking a brisk walk in the wintry weather. OK ... I didn’t get that nutty, but the thought did cross my mind.
While I could hear someone pushing snow several blocks away, it was basically quiet ... still ... serene. I stood there for a minute, lost in that silence, and I don’t mind telling you, I savored the moment. I don’t know ... maybe it’s just as quiet on other nights when four or five inches of snow aren’t blanketing my world, but for some reason that night, the white quiet hit me.
I stood there for a few more minutes and realized the silence was interrupted by a slight breeze rustling through the pines in the backyard. I noticed a set of footprints between my house and garage and determined it had been a rabbit who had hopped under the arbor that joins the two structures. In a few months, aromatic wisteria blooms will adorn that arbor, but for now, the snow clung to the bare branches like lovers on a cold winter night.
Coyotes in the distance howled ... seemingly a perfect accompaniment to the winter symphony. I couldn’t help but think, and worry too, about the four-legged creatures of the night. Are they cold, hungry? My mind wandered to the two-legged creatures as well, knowing there are folks who call the streets their home, regardless of the season. And to think I was annoyed I had to leave the confines of my warm home to retrieve something from my vehicle. Shame on me.
The pristine landscape outside my door was really quite beautiful. All the flaws that normally catch my attention were gone, covered by that thick, white blanket of snow — perhaps Mother Nature’s way of telling me I need to see beyond the obvious regardless of the season ... or maybe her way of reminding me how vibrant the spring will seem, once this winter wonderland disappears.
Other than myself and the person pushing snow several blocks away, I saw no one else — most of my neighbors’ homes were dark, and the affair between myself and Mother Nature seemed intimate. It was just her and me, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to see past her blustery and brutal ways and relish her intrinsic and natural beauty.
Like a photographer captures an image, I stood there for a few seconds longer, hoping to preserve this scenic and solitary winter portrait and commit it to memory, where I can take it out now and then ... especially when the world gets a little bit too nutty.
BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.