This year, January only toyed with winter. February brought it crashing down around us with heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. Our road is rutted with ice, the residue of too many trips by the snowplow over one snowfall after another. Tree limbs lie snapped and broken under a blanket of white. For the first time in my life, snow rollers appeared across the fields of Western Pennsylvania – a weird phenomenon created by just the perfect combination of temperature, wind, and heavy snow. They lay like giant white lifesavers rolled by spirit creatures that left no tracks across the white fields.
Hunger drives the animals in from the woods. Deer footprints pepper the deep snow around our Norway Spruces. They’ve neatly clipped off every needle on my azaleas and sheared the English Ivy nearly 6 feet up the tree trunks. A possum appropriated the cats’ food dish in the barn – hissing at anyone who attempted to drive him out. The horse feed must be kept under lock and key or the raccoons will dump the barrels and gorge themselves. The flying squirrels are back in the attic rolling nuts in the wee hours of the morning. Every living thing is seeking food and shelter, huddling together for warmth, holding on for just one more day
But March is less than two weeks away. We have gained an hour and a half of daylight and the angle of the sun has changed, even though the weather forecast promises another 4-6”of snow tonight. There is brittle beauty in these winter days but oh, the chill drives deep into the bones and I long for spring.