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Snowed In

image copyright Fred First

It is snowing. Or sleeting. Then both. We walked early, before I had eaten anything for breakfast, I realized half way round. Already there was a fine dusting and whiteness that didn't overpower what little color remains in the weak greens of balding hemlocks and the hanging dregs of beechleaf-- a most delicate white highlight to a graying world.

The dog almost caught a squirrel he surprised down under the overhang of the creek bank. (I warned him what could happen if he messed with them.) He relented and chose mole instead as his quarry du jour. Tsuga, the yellow lab, is harder to see in the snow when the tauny colors of pasture still show through, easier when it goes all to white, but fainter by far than our Black Labs have stood stark black against snow.

Only pure ice is harder to walk on than this thin icing of snowy slush. There is no depth of snow to hold your foot on the slope when you slide. I almost fell several times and knew Ann would scold me, as she did, since I had neglected again to bring a hiking stick. I have to weigh the pain on my rear in a possible slip against the certain pain in my wrists on the stick, there where once there was cartilage separating the old bones. But we can still walk, up slopes, fording the creek flowing clear with yesterday's rain, then back toward the house where the battery powered candles flicker in all the windows--a comforting sight that reminds me I should have one more cup of coffee and then something for breakfast.

Back warm, dry and fed now. Snow swirls swiftly left to right outside the window over the frame of summer's butterfly bush, slower and right to left across the road by the barn. I will find "In the Bleak Midwinter", put on the headphones and make a December memory.

Everything is flowing -- going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water. Thus the snow flows fast or slow in grand beauty-making glaciers and avalanches; the air in majestic floods carrying minerals, plant leaves, seeds, spores, with streams of music and fragrance; water streams carrying rocks... While the stars go streaming through space pulsed on and on forever like blood...in Nature's warm heart. ~ John Muir


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Amazing what triggers a memory... but seems as I remember a story started about a year ago, where Fred layeth on his back after sliding down a hill of ice whilst getting out of his truck with groceries. Part two of such story was promised to follow. Well, how was the journey up that hill? Your patient reader wants to know!

Better be careful on that ice Fred! You know the saying (and it's true)-- better safe than sorry!

you might try using a ski pole as a hiking stick. they're strong, but very light-weight, and have a handy wriststrap too.

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