There’s a soft and quiet gentleness, out there in the snow. It evokes a sense of solitude, even when you’re not alone. I’ll remember, and reflect on, this feeling when steam rises from fragrant tea, served in my favorite teacup, and I’m curled under a blanket on the couch. The hush brings you quickly into your own head, where . . . well, only you truly know what you’ll find.
A blanket of snow lures us out of a warm bed. It whispers softly, letting us know there is an adventure out there for us, if we’ll just get our feet on the floor. That’s the first step. The next one lands my feet into knee-high boots, laced all the way up in a Criss Cross, and topped with fur.
After days of false promises the local weathermen had finally delivered snow showers, overnight. It’s a deep blanket of snow, and flakes continue to fall from the grey sky, adding new layers that cover the street, the sidewalks, the rooftops and front yards. Garden gnomes wear fluffy white caps on their heads, and the backyard fire pit is encased in ice.
We walk in the streets. The snow is deep enough that it obscures the transition between the asphalt and the curb. Snow accumulates in drifts, pushed up onto the sidewalk by the persistent wind. I’m lulled into a feeling that taking a walk down an enchanted forest path.
Then, at an intersection, the streetlight runs through its cycle without a single car passing through. Beep, beep, beep. . . it’s safe to cross. There are no footprints in the snow – the signal goes sends out its message to no one in particular.
Birds sit in the bare branches overhead, feathers all ruffled up, trapping air between their feathers, to capture some tiny bit of warmth. The squirrels are nowhere to be seen, and I imagine them curled up into tight balls of wet fur, like the storybook depictions, noses buried into their fluffy tails.
I have frozen eyelashes. I blink, and they melt, then freeze again. My breath hangs in the air, and some moisture is accumulating on my camera lens. Footsteps are hushed, and for a few moments we don’t speak. This niveous scene is a winter wonderland.
On a side street there are two sets of tire treads imprinted in the snow. They tell a story, as they merge together, then sharply move apart, at an odd angle. Was it the car’s speed, the driver’s carelessness or a lack of traction that caused one vehicle to slide? It’s the car with the thicker tires, sunk deep into the snow, that keeps its steady course.
It’s around eight oclock, still early for a Sunday. The playground at the school on the corner is empty. It’s a snowy day, but it’s no ‘Snow Day.’ Students and teachers are likely disappointed. Why does the snow have to come in the early, still dark hours of the morning on a Sunday, in the middle of a 3-day weekend?
We make another turn and the path sinks down into the ravine. We’re still on the road, and the trees rise, tall and broad. Birds flit in and out of the branches – there’s the flash of a woodpecker, the flicker of the cardinal’s read crown, and the glimpse of a bluebird. They call to one another, their pitch as high as they are perched in the canopy.
A patch of snow reflects a beam of sunlight that has fought its way through the grey cloud cover. Light glistens off the crystal edges of tiny snowflakes. Rocks in the creek are dusted with the sparkling white stuff.
What might have been a routine walk down Walhalla Rd. is transformed. The newness of the snow cover makes the ravine a serene place to explore. There’s a peace I wish I could take with me and bring along on Monday morning. Well, Tuesday morning, since Monday is a holiday. I take another picture – perhaps that will help. I linger a little longer, in case it doesn’t.
We return to the ravine at night. . .
Walhalla Ravine is still quiet at night, bathed in the warmth of the streetlamps, with light reflecting off the slowly moving surface of the creek. I’m reminded of a rich sunrise, pushing the day forward, out of a lingering darkness.
Our shadows are long.
With snow still covering the creek, the night seems longer.
Join me on my next adventure,
Walhalla Rd., Columbus, OH: http://www.weirdus.com/states/ohio/road_less_traveled/walhalla/index.php
Yelp Review: https://www.yelp.com/biz/walhalla-ravine-columbus
Walhalla on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walhalla
Walhalla on Urban Dictionary: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Walhalla