Before my second cup of coffee this morning, I pulled on my boots and coat and went out the door. I wanted to see the storm. This certainly isn't our first storm this winter, but this one happens to be on Imbolg, or a day when we are meant to be aware of the life, slowly quickening far beneath the snow and soil and the reminder that the vernal equinox is only six weeks away.
But first the snowbanks had to be negotiated, something which our postal carrier, rightly so, did not undertake, which meant Alex chased after the truck to retrieve our mail. Even with frequent shoveling, the snow accumulated so quickly and soon all paths were blocked.
Alex returned to his work at home day, and I trudged down the hill, in the quiet, on the unplowed streets. Soon I met our neighbor, Moira (a chef) and her wonderful dog, Rib-Eye, as they returned from skiing on the beach. Rib-Eye bounded over to me and leaned his snow encrusted body against my knees, giving me a doggy hug. I responded with much cooing, hugging and pats on his sweet head. I realized that it had been a couple of weeks since he'd been at our door, barking hello and waiting patiently for a treat and that I had missed him. Moira, rosy cheeked and bundled, reported that the skiing did not go very well as the snow had gotten too deep, so she was headed home, probably to cook something fabulous.
I continued walking, my feet taking me towards the beach, heedless of any protestations from my iced nose.
Often on gray, winter days, stormy or otherwise, the ocean blends into the sky, is calm or the tide is so far out, and we don't get the same crashing surf we know during the summer months. Today I was rewarded and as I crested the final hump of the path, I was aware of the nearness and power of the storm. With cold, inflexible hands, I took as many photos as I could, trying to keep my cameras dry in the near blizzard conditions. I saw only one other soul on the beach.
Coated in snow and beginning to feel the cold, I began to walk home. I saw the train go by, and a few people with shovels and snow blowers, trying to dig their way out of driveways, and some kids with make-shift sleds trying to make jumps out of steep snowbanks. Around the bend and I marveled at a woman, dressed in a sweater, skirt, boots and a kerchief, as she made her way across the road with the help of a cane. Not everyone was put off by the storm, clearly.
Feeling chilled and tired but exhilarated, I made my way back up our still unplowed hill towards home. Breathless and frozen, I went inside and attempted to peel off my wet layers, grateful for the warmth. And though the abundant snow seems constant and unyielding, it will yield. Warmth will return, birdsong will fill the air once more and the ocean and sky won't be so gray and fierce. For now I'm content knowing that the snow will protect our garden like a blanket during the final bearing down of winter, and in the spring, the melt will awaken and nourish what will be life, bursting anew.