Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snow diamonds

With the exception of New Year's weekend, the temperature here has held below freezing for weeks and weeks, during which we've had multiple snow dumps adding up to 3+ feet. Most of that time has been overcast and often windy -- making, altogether, for a some serious winter.

It also makes for the best of winter, for two reasons.

First, the snow is powder, which is light to shovel and easy to plow (and a dream if you're a skier). One appreciates this after many winters spent scraping up the equivalent of wet cement, or skidding on ice as impenetrable as concrete.

Second, the snow remains crystalline, and that makes for breathtaking beauty when the sun -- and moon -- finally come out.

Two nights ago, the clouds parted to allow a half moon to bathe the white-robed landscape in silver gleam that thousands of snow bits caught and reflected like summer fireflies. The following morning, below cloudless blue, the sunrise caught more diamond points and lit the day with sparkle. When wind came up and lifted the powder, the very air glittered.

Conditions are right only a few days each winter, if at all. So it's hard to mind the season when it turns the world into a visual wonderland.

Carolyn Haley

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