Winter Storm

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Language is one of my favorite tools. Those who know me well probably wish I would use less of it (fortunately, Jim makes up for the excessiveness of my “language footprint”). But it has its shortcomings- even the most accurate descriptors create space between the words and the direct experience. To me, the term Winter Storm is one of those departures. It conjures images of destruction and chaos.

While our response to snow can be stormy- I’ve white-knuckled my little car through its share of blizzards, resolute in my refusal to bend to the weather- there are few experiences on this earth that compare to being in freshly fallen snow.

This morning was one of those occasions. We had gone to bed disappointed. With only an inch or so on the ground, we were convinced that the mountains had defended us from the storm. Recently, they seem to have forgotten that we welcome the stuff. However, we awoke to powder on the ground and flakes continuing to fall from the sky.

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Jim was up well before the sun. Eager to set fresh tracks, he set off with a great group of guys to skin up a local ski mountain. Not wanting to deprive anyone of the experience of paving their way through the snow (yeah I know, I’m a giver) I spent the morning hunkered down in the cabin watching the snow fall.

Like a 7-year-old on a snow day, I impulsively decided to forgo sleeping in, bundled up in my gear, and ventured out into the white. I was met a soundless flurry of activity. This is what strikes me about snowstorms- the silence accompanied by the chaos of trillions of flakes pouring down from the sky to blanket the earth. Serene. As usual, language draws us in toward the beast, but can’t quite reach out to touch it.

By my very presence, not to mention my two frisky dogs, I am a disruption. Yet, the three of us, we cannot resist. The dogs burst forth from the cabin running laps through the snow, turning their heads into the powder as they run, picking up mouthfuls of flakes on the fly. I run/tromp out into the field, into snow so deep that it crests over the lips of my snow boots. Within minutes I have snow in my hair, down the back of my jacket, and in my boots. I have found the 7-year-old in the snow.

It never lasts forever. The battery in the cabin is drained and calling for the generator. The to-do list begins. But for now, the snow is still here to embrace us the moment we step out to meet it.

New images to pair with the language of Winter Storm.

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