We woke up late this morning. It was exceptionally dim and eerily silent. Eight A.M.! The weatherman had predicted brown and more brown far into the midst of January. Yet one glance out the window revealed not only a glaring error in that prophesy, but the reason for the present quality of light and soundlessness.
Although we live on the outskirts of town just before the road becomes gravel, there is normally a fair parade of vehicles passing by between seven and nine a.m. Today – we might be living on the moon. Nothing. I stood at the window and watched. Nothing.
As a novice Minnesotan, I wondered what exactly might be the protocol? Should I get out and start shoveling the drive? Is everyone calling in sick today? Has Fergus Falls ground to a halt? Will the snow plow arrive soon?
But I did learn two things this morning.
First discovery. When we had the light dusting three days before Christmas, Noelle and I were all agog to see animal prints in the snow and it looked to our untrained eyes as if we had been visited in the night by all sorts of feral creatures criss-crossing the yard repeatedly. Deer and (maybe coyote) and certainly a large cat. Very large. Not a bobcat but, yes, certainly a puma. Who knew about the hidden, transversal world of the garden by dark?
This morning as I stood at the kitchen window, watching the birds scramble in the snow for fallen seed under the feeders, a large grey squirrel sprinted quickly across the yard leaving behind distictive prints. Large cat prints.
Second discovery. It occurred to me that I could use this winter wonderland to entice Kevin and Steve and Sheila and Tony and Jenny and Sean and Sam and Cassidy and Haley! AHA! And so it is with visions of sledding on Roosevelt Hill and skating on Alice Lake and skiing the Ottertail Slough that I proclaim (and no pressure intended) – HAPPY FIVE DAYS AFTER CHRISTMAS!