The crust of the snow is vibrant. Sunshine reflects off the iced crust and blinds me. I step carefully into the yard. The driveway is steep and sheer ice. I’ll take my chances with the snow. I have to punch down into the iced top to get any hold. Even then, there are places that don’t give and I have to find some sort of textured ripple on the surface to get a grip. Gravity is not my friend during my descent to the road.
Ironically, the small country road is dry and clear. Once I hit the pavement, I am secure in my footing for the most part. Only bits of ice jut out here and there; I easily avoid them. The sun is resplendent in the low winter sky, warding off any chill from the twenty degrees that greets my ears and nose, making them tingle. I breathe in deeply, face towards the sun. The air is crisp and cold. Fresh. Like ice water to the soul on a sultry day.
The UPS truck passes me. Then a small white car, the driver waving. I wave back without any clue who it is. The sunlight is diminishing my eyesight, even though I‘m wearing sunglasses. Later, a black truck passes. Then a white one. Then, all is silence, but not for long.
Slowly, like a sleeper awakening, I notice it: the snow. It is whispering a song to me. Small twigs fall from a tree. They patter on the icy snow and slide downhill until they are stopped by the bank built up over the weeks of plowing.
I turn at the top of a hill, having walked further than intended. Who can resist on such a beautiful day? I turn and instantly see why the snow is singing. The moon hangs low in the sky. It is full, white, and stark against the clear blue background. Taking out my phone, I know there is no possibility of capturing the true beauty. I am right.
Retracing my steps, I observe the fields. No new deer tracks today. Even they are having a hard time with the icy crust of the snow. Then I hear a crack, like ice slabs breaking apart. The only water nearby is a pond, just beyond the field. I turn and peer into the trees separating land and water, hoping to see a deer. Whatever made the snow crack must be large. I see no movement, no shadows.
After several minutes of having a staring contest with the tree line, I break off and continue home. The sun is behind me now, touching the tops of the ridges. The evening sun’s peachy reflection splashes across the snowy hills.
I am walking along the field by our house when I am startled. That crack again! I stare at the field, perplexed. Then I hear it again, like a refrain, willing spring to come. The song continues until I step inside and the sun retreats, wrapping itself in a blanket.