First snowfall gives reason to reflect
Just a few yards off the highway with its noise, impatience and deadlines there is a wooded area of untainted nature whose beauty lies in its simplicity of lichen-cloaked rocks, still-growing hardwoods, almost unnoticed animal trails and frail shrubs and bushes.
Although the area is only a few long strides from the bustle of a money-starved and sometimes crass civilization, it has its own shrunken ego that only wants to provide shelter for the birds and animals that don’t need the flash and dash and hurried pace of the “time is money” outside world.
There are slender cedar trees, barely swaying in the skittish wind, if someone needs a Christmas tree or greens with which to decorate. Fresh-cut cedar has a smell easily associated with the Christmas season.
As the visitor slowly walks through the undisturbed area, a barely seen or felt first snowfall of the season begins to fall. It’s so slight and so quiet the powdery flakes are almost invisible.
The last, hardy leaves of a small oak tree are still aboard their cordlike limbs. And they begin to be coated in the late-day snow.
Before the visitor can move his focus from the unrivaled magnetism of the charms of nature, a half hour has passed and the ground is already covered by the powdery white.
Cardinals provide a spot of red color to the vivid green of the cedars. Chickadees flit in and out of coverage, never staying long enough in one place to introduce themselves. Finches provide a muted purple and raucous blue jays announce their sometimes overbearing presence with a shrill drumbeat of signaling. Juncos and titmice forage quietly for seeds that will soon be covered by the snow.
Along the way, the signs that a rabbit has come this way before us can be traced through the give-him-away snow.
What other untamed animals are still about?
Their tracks would become clues as well if seen.
Soon the snow covers all the leaves and some previously bare branches with its quiet reverence.
The slate greys, stale yellows and tired browns of late fall are now a pristine white. The mottled backdrop becomes a palette of white with no end to its possibilities.
Nearly everything is given a mantle of undisturbed white.
And the world is a better place.
All too soon, the harsh tone of a paying-attention conscience turns its chiding voice to the visitor and barks out its silent “time to get back to the unsatisfying routine” and leave this valued place.
The snow still drops its brilliance. The birds still seek refuge and their body-warming seeds.
And the little stand of nature’s inspiring collection of time-honored spirits waves a silent “goodbye and come again” to the lucky visitor.