A real storm at last! Stella is working her way up the coast. I am home from a morning at work and we are all settled in for the afternoon as the rate of snowfall is beginning to increase. Brad, in town for the weekend, is stranded by Amtrak, and the storm gives us the perfect backdrop for visiting longer. Soon the dogs are coming in with a quarter of an inch of snow on their backs. By late afternoon the snow is blowing sideways across the field in great billowing curtains, and climbing the tree becomes irresistible.
The wind is strong enough that most branches are bare, so there is no need for the somehow almost-magical ritual of brushing the snow off each branch as I climb. When I reach the top, I stand in place for a while, rocking a bit in the wind. The snow is blowing at great speed down this crease in the land, coming over the hill and racing down toward the valley. It is surprisingly quiet in the tree given how fast the snow is moving a few hundred yards away.
I watch this river of air and snow for a while, and then its direction shifts and I see it coming across the field at me, and then the wind is among the branches and driving them this way and that, and Stella has come to play. The trunk rocks back and forth, and while the sheer force of wind is not as strong as it was last week, it carries a good fistful of snow to liven things up. The effect is exhilarating, being held up unprotected to the storm, currents of air driving wildly about as rivers collide overhead and drive downwards.
For a little while I close my eyes and rest my head back against the shifting trunk. I lay my face open to the stinging snow and listen to the steady roar of the wind coming down the valley, the snapping of prayer flags in the branches in front of me.
Eventually I dig out my phone because this is too great not to share. The storm has calmed a little, but the videos capture at least something of it.
Snow blowing across the hills:
The wind in the tree:
Prayer flags in the storm:
Within minutes my now-bare hands ache to the bone with the cold, and putting gloves back on doesn’t help. With hands largely numb I make my way down the tree carefully, using wrists more than fingers.
Exhilarated, and glad to have been part of it all, I wade back through the snow towards the house.