Here we are this week, our hoods up and shovels in hand, tapestries of tumbling white stuff billowing around us like smoke. Snowdrifts are deep enough now that it is difficult to see over them, and our shovels must fling their contents high into the air to make it over the steep white walls on either side of driveway and walkway. Our neighbors are all out shoveling too, and we exchange greetings in the murk without ever seeing each other. Up and down the street, there is the rhythmic swishing of winter shod feet and snow being moved from one place to another place.
Evergreens in the garden wear white plumes and sway in place, set in motion by the bitter north wind blowing across the river - the blended fragrance of spruce needles and fresh snow is grand stuff indeed. Roof lines, eaves and gutters, the edges and pinnacles and corners of the village, all have been rounded off and smoothed out, burnished to cursive oceanic perfection by the long white season that is (hopefully) growing old.
Can the white stuff be classified as columns, needles, dendrites or rimed snow? I haven't the foggiest idea which class of winter precipitation I am moving about. Whatever sort of snow this is, it has a way of muffling sounds, and the world is a magical place, all pristine and flowing and hushed. To this lurching and fumbling follower of the Way, such days are as lovely as a winter woodblock image by Kawase Hasui or Tsuchiya Koitsu.
If I were out in the woods right now, I would be able to hear the snow falling among the trees, but there are signs and wonders here too. All I have to do is tune in.....