Calm After the Storm
February 24, 2023
There’s something about a big snow that has always spoken to my heart. I like to watch any snowfall, but when the forecast says “storm” I pay particular attention. It is a bit strange because I have never liked summer storms. I find everything about summer storms unsettling and threatening from the stillness ahead of time to the gathering of dark ominous clouds to the lightning, thunder, wind and pounding rain. Summer storms have a sense of attack about them.
Winter storms however, I find a bit exciting and relaxing at the same time. A requirement to enjoying a winter storm of course is knowing that I don’t have to travel through them. Now that I am retired it is pretty easy for me to clear my schedule and hunker down. For me, watching out my patio window at the snow slanting across my view goes well with a fresh cup of coffee.
The big snow finished up yesterday, so that was the time of the work of digging out. Although the snow was dry and fluffy the wind had packed the drifts down tight. I remember using a shovel as a child to chop large bricks out of snow like this. We tried a number of times to build real Eskimo igloo but we never could get the roof to hold, so we settled for snow forts instead.
Last night when I switched the patio light on I could see that snow was falling again; only this time it was large flakes sifting down and settling almost cotton soft.
This morning I headed out to clear that last bit of snow out of the driveway. The stillness and silence of the morning were deep. When I finished my work I took the time to pause and look east. The sky had already hidden the stars beneath its bluing blanket, but the sun was still just a sure and certain hope below the eastern horizon. There is nothing as pure as new snow.
Back inside I stopped to look out at the feeders. Birds were already flitting in and out. A dozen or more gather and then all scatter in panic. It turns out to be a blue jay – a bit of a bully but nothing to fear, so the juncos and chickadees and finches begin to return.
Then I saw them. My mind knew right away, but then tried to dismiss the thought. Couldn’t be. Not here. I even went online and looked them up to be sure. Yes. What I had seen was a single set of bobcat tracks in that new snow. It doesn’t make much sense. Bobcats are big woods creatures and I live in an area of scattered woodlots and farm fields. But there they were – clearly pressed into that inch of fluffy snow. Undeniable. Snow helps reveal the movings in the night that we sleep through unaware. I hope we have enough new snow yet over the next few weeks to help determine if he has stayed in the area or if he was just passing through. I expect the latter, but you never know what you will discover in the calm after the storm.