. . .And Other Winter Snows
We were treated like some kind of heroes. For no particular reason, except that we had weathered the blizzard and come home to talk about it.
The weekend before the great storm, fifteen of us had come together at our son’s family home in the Boston suburbs to celebrate a late Christmas. Drinks in hand, jolly in the warmth of the grand fireplace, we watched snow flutter as if from a snow globe, while the grandchildren made snowballs. We remarked on what a pretty White Christmas we were having in January, a true Norman Rockwell moment, and how it would all be gone by the time we were going home.
Despite the usual hyper-predictions, we were somehow unaware of an approaching blizzard. We took this eight-inch prelude as a serendipitous gift, presented solely for our jolly gathering. But it was only a teaser.
We left the Boston area on Monday, just as barely visible ocean-effect flurries skimmed the windshield. No chance for our flight out on Tuesday, or even Wednesday, so we did the next best thing.
We hunkered down in our daughter’s family home near Manchester, kept watch at the windows, and toasted in the heat of their blazing pellet stove.
The blizzard was not particularly photogenic. Fine dry flakes collected into abundant but light snow that caused little damage to plants, was easily ploughed into dirty piles that were then trucked to wherever. But it started me thinking about winter’s pranks and masquerades.
The slide show presents a collection of images of winters past and present and the notes below tell of winters’ tales.
The bonfire on the porch was put together by our enterprising grandson, who had figured if eskimos could make a fire in the snow, so could he. He was smart enough to borrow a couple of pieces of slate to insulate the wooden porch floor from the fire pit.
The glowing light and the “souffles” were photographed during the blizzard by my sister in New York City, though she says she’s seen better toppers. She took the pictures from inside.
Ice patterns were created by Ariadne, our Greek goddess of mazes, spilling her vessel into our pond during a frosty spell about a week prior to the blizzard.
And finally, our snowbound garden was recorded during a mini-blizzard the day after Christmas 2010. Heavy wet snow caked branches, sculpting them. Under their shrouds, each tree wrote its signature.
Look for twisty branches on the willow oak by the fence. Traceries of lace on the crabapple near the bench. A crepe myrtle branch bowed over garden seats, its seed pods poking through snow like scattershot. The wild, sticky stubby hairdo of the fringe tree, a tangle we’d not noticed before. And the Japanese snowbell drooping over the gazing globe, its vase shape misplaced.
After every storm we find branches torn or broken. Crowns of trees, deformed, give us hours of pruning and years of waiting and hoping.
But these masquerades always bring surprises.