It has not reached a temperature above freezing for six days. One night it broke the low recored set in 1895. It dropped to minus 11. The old recored was minus 6. While a lot of the rest of Texas had no power, where I lived had only rotating short blackouts occasionally. At my house, there has been no outage. Not only has it been cold but also snowing. The last two says shout out winter beauty. The first few photos I took yesterday. Then it snowed another 3-4 inches and I took more photos this morning.
Cold, windless morning
Sounds of silence
After nearly none last year, it hit suddenly and dramatically last night: cold, intense, beautiful.
Once I learned there would be no school today–I am a teacher, I planned to blog something profound and thought provoking. However, thirteen inches of snow takes a long time to shovel. Before it became sufficiently light to hike out and feed Rosie, my horse, I took these photos.
It took no time for me to realize as soon as sufficient light arrived and it warmed up a bit, that I needed to start the shoveling process. Since the patio in the photos receive little sun in winter, it would take weeks–a weeklong warming trend is on its way–and probably longer than the predicted warming trend to melt all this unless I started working on the shoveling process. The profound blog forgotten, I put on tights under jeans, three layers on top plus a long coat, two pairs of gloves, wool socks over the tights, boots, and headed out. Round one entailed my shoveling a path up the steps seen in a photo above and on to the barn to feed Rosie, returning to the patio and shoveling for about 1 and 1/2 hours. At that point cold hands and feet necessitated my coming indoors to warm up. In the meantime I took a few more photos.
Much to my dismay, this unusually wet and heavy snow broke off a large limb on the juniper tree by my blue, Santa Fe inspired, door. When it warms up and the snow melts, I will have to saw it off and learn to live with the space it used to occupy.
Because I did not want this to happen to a couple of other trees close to the house, I later went around with a shovel, hitting them, trying to knock off snow. Time for round two of shoveling–the rest of the patios. The snow is beautiful, but after four hours of shoveling and vacuuming the whole house between shoveling rounds, I think perhaps I will collapse and profundity can wait for another day. Later in the afternoon I took the photos below. I am not a photographer; I teach high school seniors British literature. However, a painter asked permission to paint the photo below. I feel quite flattered.
Since my truck is in the barn above the house and my drive next to the garage is full of snow as seen in the photo below, it may be a week or so before I go anywhere in my little car.
During the last snow storm, a friend came over and took a photo of the aged juniper tree rising from the canyon floor almost to my patio. After he took the photo, we noticed it looks like a bird. Today as you can see from this photo, she is a snow goose.
This prose poem recently appeared in the latest “Story Circle Journal”.
They’re young; they’re handsome; they’re mine for six months.
Two seventeen year old South Americans. The Brazilian has never
seen snow. It snows two feet in less than twenty-four hours, wind
shrieking along the canyon rim, drifts piling four feet high, roads
closed. Even the snow plows give up. We’re house and barn bound.
Horses need food. We all pitch in, climb through drifts, shovel.
Schools never closed are closed; offices closed. No lights on the road.
Two days later it takes us an hour rocking back and forth in the green
Off Road 4X4 truck to go the one eighth mile to the main road. After school
and work we leave the truck near the road and trudge down the long hill
to the house. By flashlight we struggle back up the next morning, trying
not to fall. Even boots fill with snow. That evening, the boys insist
we drive all the way down to the barn. I start to fix dinner. They tell me,
“We’ll be back in an hour. We aren’t going through that again!”
They shovel tracks for the truck all the way from the barn to the main road.
I miss them, especially in winter.
Winter stillness lies over the canyon:
a blanket of white cold.
Windless, a rarity in West Texas.
I see reddish brown rock,
outlined against the snow.
dashes up an arroyo,
It never snows here.
Now it is snowing.
The hotel bar is crowded.
No one’s on the streets.
“Come with me to my ship.”
He’s a freighter captain.
On board, he begs,
“Spend the night!”
On a freighter?
He takes me out to breakfast.
We wander in the snow.
Back home, my friend asks,
“Did you get laid?”