Yesterday was the clearest, sharpest, bluest sky of all the winter days. Everybody was talking about it, even as most of us our discouraged by the never-ending pattern of subzero mornings and regular snowfall. It felt as if February was giving us a gift, so we could just hang on until March, when there will be genuine signs of hope. There is something about the quality of light, as the sun creeps up off the horizon, that gives the snow drifts and fields such beautiful and interesting colors this time of year. When I’ve been driving into town in the morning light, the top of the vast fields are that lovely shade of pale baby blue, but, wherever there are snow drifts, the vertical plane of the snow looks like bright white satin. It’s not shimmering with diamonds dancing in the snow, but it looks silky, and folds like fondant icing over the blue fields. Last night’s sunset spilled rose gold across the land, and shadows became Bleu de France, that distinctive happy blue found in striped cotton T-shirts, worn with a pair of white capris and red-painted toenails.
And, then, there were the winter stars. We had been to dinner with friends, in their cozy house in the woods, and when we came down our dark road, we could see that the stars were shining to the horizon line. The supermoon had not yet risen in the east, and I walked up our road, away from the lights of the garage, to take in the sky. So many constellations I cannot name, and the broad swath of Milky Way, were in a blue-black sky, that was the same color found in charming vintage Christmas cards, in which golden light spills on snow from a little cabin, and white smoke curls from the chimney into a dark night, with snow flakes dotting the trees. It was that kind of night, as the heavy flocking of snow covering our tall pines, actually glowed by the light of the stars.
I’ve been looking at photos and videos this morning of Scottsdale, Arizona’s big snow fall last night. How awful would that be, for everyone who thought they were safe from winter’s wrath. It’s clouding up here, with more snow to arrive by night fall, and subzero temperatures at the end of the week-end. March 4th is still the first day predicted to be above freezing. That’s something to look forward to, and, yesterday, was something to remember.
Lines for Winter–by Mark Strand