It began yesterday, late afternoon, as a soft swirling snow...barely dusting the ground at first but then quickly covering up the dirty streets, the dead grass and the corners where leaves and debris had gathered.
By this morning, it was deep enough to plow - just about two inches, but now it is raining and turning everything into a dangerous slush.
But still there is a wonder and peacefulness about the first snow. I look from my office window, across the street at the bank and the huge fir is dusted as if with confectioner's sugar. When I used to live on the farm and drove into Pittsfield to take the kids to school and go to work, there was a lovely stretch of road where the evergreens stood tall along both sides, their boughs outstretched as if in protection of us. And in the winter, when they were covered in snow, the brilliant white dazzling against the dark, deep green, I told my children they had their party dresses on.
Today, even though the roads are messy and I had to shovel the sidewalk and my little dog is shocked by the cold and wet on her tiny feet, my world has its party dress on.
My car had on a bonnet of white and a shawl across its hood. The little walkway through the park next door is covered in footprints, people coming and going from their busy day, while the red berries on the firebushes that line the park blaze in contrast to the white of the snow.
The sounds are muffled and a bit of unusual quiet seems to surround me.
The plows came through early, early this morning and heaped a small mountain of wet snow and slush at the end of the parking lot. Not sturdy enough for climbing and sliding down but it beckons....
I absolutely despise winter: it fences me in and doesn't allow me the freedom to move as easily as I'd like. It causes accidents, raises the oil bill, makes you buy and wear heavy clothing and ugly boots. And as I age, I'm much more afraid of falling now.
But there is magic in the first real snow. A simple wonder that we have as children when we spot those first few flakes of the season and believe that all is possible. That wishes can come true, that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are right around the corner, and that dreams can still be fulfilled.
My wish for myself this holiday season is that I never lose that wonder, that joy at Mother Nature's miracles and abilities. That I still want to catch that first snowflake on my tongue, slide down that little mountain of snow and whack my brother with a well-placed snowball. That I can find pure joy in rolling a snowman, trying to stay on course when ice skating and hearing the crunch of the snow under snowshoes. That the beauty of the chickadees at my feeder, the smell of woodsmoke on the evening air and the incredible Jack Frost patterns on the windows never lose their ability to surprise and delight me.
I can almost hear Santa's sleigh bells faintly ringing in my ear....Ah.....the enchanting magic of it all.