Natale: The first snowfall

There is something magical about the first snowfall — not the dustings or heavy frosts — but the first real snowfall, six inches or more!

It evokes memories of igloos built into the drifts the town plows pushed into the edge of the yards and driveways; huge snowmen as high as basketball nets; my sons shoveling the sidewalks and stairs, eventually distracting themselves with snowball fights, only coming inside to change into dry clothes and head back out!

Through my kitchen window I watch the woods fill up.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep…” and may be lucky enough to see a fox or deer foraging, watching birds line up on the split rail fence, their feathery weight not leaving any impressions, just their feet leaving stick figure tracks as they flit off escaping the wind and flakes. Cardinals were my father’s favorites even though he said they were mean birds, stealing other birds’ eggs or something. I can’t remember what their guilty pleasure is, but their color is vivid as they flash through the world gone white. I watch for them and they do not disappoint.

Now my sons are grown, I can curl up with a good book and tea, until I get the “doggy guilt trip look” from Lucy. She wants to play in the snow too! Like most dogs, she loves trying to catch snowballs and “plowing” through the accumulation with her big black nose sniffing out rodents — and there!

Unexpectedly, we see a mole tunneling his way from the basement to the woods, stopping halfway to pop up like a jack-in-the-box to gauge his progress and get his bearings and then back under — alas, not safely. A hawk has spotted the black shadow and swoops down grabbing his dinner, then disappearing back into the woods. How do they fly with such wing span and not crash into trees and branches? It’s a startling and amazing thing to watch.

Unfortunately, through it snowed throughout the day looking serene and beautiful and filled with promise, the accumulation was not the forecasted six inches! It was just enough to give everything a white coating — and marginal shoveling!

As darkness falls, the world takes on soft illumination from the white ground cover, and after building a nice fire, how awesome to note that “To Have and Have Not” is on television and watch Bogey and Bacall do their thing! Snow days — adult style, the world settling as we enjoy our unexpected day off.

“Now I hear the fir trees soughing/Great silence and singing! This is my home.” Has anyone said it better than Henrik Ibsen in Peer Gynt?


Nanci Natale is a lifelong Darien resident, photographer, poet, accomplished gardener, cook and artist. Her poetry has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Bellowing Ark and others publications.

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