Friday, December 12, 2008


We had some pretty raw weather yesterday. Harsh, cold and blustery, it rained hard most of the day, a lot of it fairly sideways, and it never got more than a few degrees above freezing. The roof leaked like a sieve as it usually does when tested like that, but all in all, the woodstove did a valiant job in keeping the house cozy in the evening.

We basked in the warmth of each other's company, did our various tasks, and enjoyed a glass or two of red wine. All night long, the rain came and went in waves, washing over the house and tapping away at the skylights.

Then this morning, I saw snow on the mountains!

Now, our mountains are very, very old. Nowhere do we have anything that even approaches having a 'treeline' as you might find out west or up north; all our gentle mountains have wooded summits. And our snow, when we get it, tends to be very feeble. So saying we have 'snow on the mountains' may create a false impression of alpinity.

But when there is snow on our mountains, it is very special. Their background, normally a dull canvas of grey-brown, becomes a luminous light grey; their countless sloping ridgelines stand out against this background, the brush-like fur of trees standing in silhouette. They become sketches of themselves, limned out in tiny little cross-hatched lines, delicate but defined. Subtle, sublime, brooding in their grand repose.

There is hardly another time when they are so beautiful.

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