After the last several years where winter made light of its role in the December – March calendar, we have our second major snowfall in two weeks. The last four days of meteorological broadcast hysteria was apparently warranted. The snow started about 4 am, there were 2 inches on the ground by 6, and as the song says, “. . . it doesn’t show signs of stoppin’ .”
We are promised ice and freezing rain later, and I don’t doubt this prediction. My friend in Birmingham (Alabama) says they are coated with a 1/4 inch of ice. The city is under attack from falling trees and tree limbs, and is coping with resulting power outages. The ice part of this storm is set to barrel up I-85 to North Carolina and arrive by this evening. After our last ice storm we had no electricity for a week. So I have a fire laid in the fireplace, wood stacked on the front porch, candles and flashlights at hand, matches ready to light the stove burners when the electric ignition fails. All I have to do now is enjoy the sight of the comparatively benign snowflakes, which are falling so densely that I cannot see my back fence in the back yard.
Birds are taking cover in the azalea by the patio, waiting their turn at the feeders like planes lined up for take-off on the tarmac, which is the only place planes would be today had not all flights in and out of the airport been cancelled. There are robins, cardinals, juncos, black-capped chickadees, rufous-sided towhees, goldfinch in their winter plumage, titmice, purple and non-purple finches, some wee wrens, and for the first time at my feeders, bluebirds. My yard is home to several bluebirds, but I typically see them catching their preferred insects on the wing, or plucking blue-black berries from the cedar tree. In this snow, they wait their turn at the feeder, then fly in and delicately grasp a single black-oil sunflower seed in their beaks, fly to the evergreen hedge, and crack it open and eat it.
It’s strange to feel like the this storm has given me a day off. I’m retired. I no longer have to call the employee weather line like my working friends, who at 6 this morning were on their phones, hoping to hear that county offices were closed due to inclement weather. And I no longer have to struggle to make it to work when against all common sense and good judgement (for a city that does not plow neighborhood streets,) county offices remained open. Trekking to the end of the driveway to fetch the morning paper is the extent of my mobile adventures today.
But the snow creates a completely unscheduled day and evening, which is still a lovely gift. The community college is closed, so I won’t be starting the new chorus class today. The Monday evening yoga class is cancelled, and my teacher delayed the start of spring semester harp lessons until next week. So there is this luscious, unfilled time stretching before me, an unplanned holiday.
I have bread rising in the oven, a domestic pleasure I don’t enjoy often enough. I’ve read my friend Catherine’s entire blog, Listening for the Whisperings, which transports me to a world where the workings of soul and light are treasured and entwined. I have new music on the music stand and time to slowly work my way through it, phrase by phrase. My cat is on my lap, purring her approval of my writing as I type. This day could not be more perfect, or contain more joy.