A Breath Of Fresh Air

December 12, 2010

It snowed Thursday night, but I wasn’t in the garden to enjoy it. I was faced with unexpected and quickly accomplished surgery so spent the night in the hospital – the nurses were terrific – thinking that anyone who has outpatient surgery is downright masochistic.

By Sunday, I had had enough of doing laps around the house, prompted by a concern (alright, a terror) of blood clots and pneumonia. I ventured outside. It was snowing again, cold and blowing, with an icy chill in the air.

It was one of those sculpting snows, that blows drifts a foot high in some areas while leaving exposed grass, barely dusted, in others. Swirly winds and bits of ice and snow peppering your face, mounding up against the brick edgers. In the pin oak bed, only a row of tips could be seen through the snow, like a geometric problem in three dimensions. Along the butterfly bed, snow piled into the curve on the bricks, creating a ski slope for elven folk. I didn’t see any slalom flags, so I’m assuming this is just a recreational course.

Dominic had just finished shoveling the driveway and walk, stomping his big feet loudly and exclaiming of the cold in that hearty voice that makes the walls shake, when I went out. When I got to the front, just minutes later, a thin layer had already accumulated, a spray paint of white. The snow was coming down in fat clusters, knocked out against the green siding. It was a snowflake snow and I picked out flakes on the withered clematis leaves. On the coneflowers, the snowflakes stood out on their tips, cartwheeling around the edges of the seed head.

The coneflowers are now reminding me of summer. Just months ago, they were a sea of purple, undulating heads, layer upon layer, row upon row. Now, these same plants are a sea of white pompons, little puffs of brilliancy against the brown of the brick, perky and row upon row.

The milkweed pods are frozen in their moment – no orgies taking place today. They are covered in snow, too cold and harsh for rampant copulation. The snow lays upon my red velveteen bows that adorn the garland and it looks like a perfect Christmas card.

My boots crack through the crust, shredding my footprints. I can see the shiny layer of ice that covered the snow and then that is covered by new snow, a juxtaposition of shiny and dull, sleek and fluffy. The ice layer shows through along the rim of the prints, with new snow running into the holes like sand. It  is like the crust of a creme brulee and ummm, now I’m in mood for custard…

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