First snow

These were not the first snowflakes. Those fell briefly at the peak of autumn foliage. Even these did not accumulate: it turned out to be just a dusting. Delicate flakes dropped from a cloud that was enveloping the mountain and seeping through the woods. I watched them fall through the frame of an eastern window, with the bare-limbed trees behind them. They descended gently in straight lines at a modest diagonal in the soft wind. The flakes were heavy enough to fall, not drift, but slow enough that the eye could ride a single flake from the top of the window to the bottom: Zen skiing. The lines bent and straightened as the breeze rose and fell.

At the same time, a fire was burning in the woodstove at half the distance to the window. My old Resolute has a stove-glass fanlight across the upper portion of its doors, with iron ribs like rays and curving elements festooned between their terminations. The orange of the fire through the frosted glass was the orange of the rainbow, bright and warm. Pieces of the sun were burning slowly in my woodstove: What is the energy in wood but the light of the sun in organic form? The fire breathed and glowed in the fanlight while the snowflakes fell steadily in the window.

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