The First Snow
The sky is a different gray before the first snow. The cobalt and crystal blues are gone. Gone too are the angry clouds of a summers storm. The snow is transported in with a blustery gray. A smothering gray. Yet, with all of the gloom, excitement is bred. The gray and dismal clouds drop the years first snow. White soft flakes that trickle down to the earth in an attempt to freeze the ground that has been vibrant for too long. Slowly snuffing out the warmth of the summer and replacing it with the invigorating chill of the winter months. The first snow wraps the ground like a blanket and locks into place all of the joy so it will be ready again for next summer under the deep blue skies.
Expected and Unexpected
The animals, never caught off guard by the changing season, rush their last few scraps of food into their caves and burrows. The bears, fat and happy, are ready to turn off the snooze button for the season and do what we all wish we could. Squirrels and shrews have packed their branches with as many late season nuts and seeds as they could hide. Foxes search for the stragglers.
People on the other hand, always surprised by the early season powder, rush from here to there on sliding tires and soaked socks. A mad dash for the milk, bread and eggs for the hours or days that the stores will wait for restock. Soon to follow, an endless stream of French Toast until the eggs, bread, and milk run dry.. The city is full of foul language and foul moods as the cars slip and slide to and from. At home, the fireplace is used for the first time, filling the home with the crackling wood and scents of winter. The panic and rush of the white flakes succumbing to the calm of the fire and blankets.
A new World
The woods take on a new life during the first snow. The chirps of birds and rodents are silenced with the soft cold blanket of winter settling in. Confused fawn stand still and look at the trees that have for the first time gone from green to white in their wide doe eyes. Trails that led countless steps of hikers deeper into the trees are briefly quiet and empty. The forest takes a breath and can finally relax for a few moments under the first snow of the season.
Within days, the brave souls will wander back out to their favorite spots. Leaving the first footsteps in the newly untouched trails like adventurers finding land for the first time. Collars high, hats low, fighting back against the elements. The snow making the unique crunch under the waterproof boots. Nothing sounds like the woods after a fresh snow. It quiet enough to hear the breath that you can now see leaving your body. Every sound is muffled by the blanket of snow. The snow makes every surface look clean and new, and every rock trapped below a mystery.
That first winter hike is something special. After the first snow, before the crowds return. Before the snow mixes with the mud of the trail beneath. Before the wind has pulled the snow from the limbs. While everything is still frozen in place by the fallen snow. The first snow holds many secrets but not for long. Soon it becomes a hinderance, an annoyance. But for that first snow, it is a blank map. Ready again for the latest explorer. A chance to see it all fresh once more. The first snow signifies the death of the summer but a rebirth. Adventure born again and laid out for the hearty and brave.
More from the Fatman
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Screw it, I’m Trying”, “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Another Year” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms.