Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flakes to Inches to Feet

Happy Holiday Greetings from our home to yours!

Our first snowfall of the season was late arriving. We all expected it last Wednesday so I called my hair dresser to change my appointment to Tuesday hoping to avoid a snowy traffic jam. Cars slide up and down hills near our home. Puget Sound is hilly like San Francisco. We live atop a small mountain so getting to and from home can become an issue when snow joins the scene. We had no snowfall last Tuesday night or Wednesday. I should have been picking up the last of my Christmas gifts instead of watching the sky like a meteorologist. I was too afraid to leave, afraid the snow would grab me like it did one evening last year when it had us sliding along Lake Sammamish Parkway, unable to follow any tracks because the snowfall was so heavy . Instead of doing my Christmas shopping I stayed home in front of the fire, keeping the pipes warm in the 20 degree temps we were having.

Thursday we awoke to a sprinkling of snow, perhaps 2 inches . Hubby can work from home so he set himself up in our office and began his day. I pulled open all the shades and watched the flakes fall, big hunks of snow swirling in circles and floating toward the earth. The branches of our giant Sequoia and its companion evergreens were draped in white sheets; the Autumn Joy sedum and the rock garden flora wearing white hats on their stems and flowerheads. Hubby purchased hand warmers to tape to the bottom of the hummingbird feeder to keep the nectar in liquid form. Hummers were waiting for their nectar in the icy weather, a deadly situation for them which threatened their survival. They moved straight to the feeder each morning to suck the nectar, one balancing on the perch around the feeding holes, likely too weak to flutter his wings and eat. We placed a heater in one of the bird baths, suet cakes in the suet cages, peanuts in the squirrel box, and plenty of nuts and seeds in the feeders. The wildlife was doing fine, and we enjoyed watching them feast from the warmth of our inside retreat.

By Friday we had several inches of snow on the ground, a pristine landscape which we watched from the windows and the covered entryway porch. Soon the postman would break the perfect white veil across the courtyard leaving his footprints as he delivered Christmas goodies from Swiss Colony. We decided to make a stockpot of chicken vegetable soup. Based on the weather forecast this may be our Christmas dinner, too! More snow fell over the weekend, and now more than a foot of snow hides the gardens from sight. Pathways and gardens disappear under wide white ribbons of snow while evergreens hold their lacy white branches a little closer to the ground. The landscape resembles a Christmas card; it is surreal - too quiet, too white, too perfect as snowfall once again covers the intrusion of any visitor.

It is all serene. There are no noises to interfere with the stillness accompanying these snowfalls except perhaps the sound of snow falling from a branch and crashing into a shrub below. Birds and squirrels scatter seeds, but there is a tranquility which hovers over the landscape and the wildlife. Serenity, always appreciated in the busy hustle of Christmas, lays across our land and feeds our own quiet, contemplative moods. We are looking forward to getting out again and doing some Christmasing, eager to see the magic of the city lights, ready to welcome the Christmas ships as they sail to ports on Lake Washington, anticipating the carolers singing to us on Seattle's streets. We hear we will be getting more snow each day until Christmas, but on Christmas Day the temps will rise above freezing and the skies will shower us with rain. It is winter in Seattle, after all, and if it is Seattle in winter, baby, the rain must fall!