One of the best things about ski patrolling is being on the mountain before the sun rises. Now the days are noticeably lengthening, and chores are usually concluded after the sun is well up.
Event though no more opening chores remained on the Delaware, I couldn’t help but take another run down that trail to enjoy this spectacular morning.
Recently a snowbow was visible for several minutes from the top of Elk Mountain.
All forms of precipitation were in the sky that day: rain, snow and sleet. By the time colors revealed, everything had turned to snow showers.
Later that night while lying in bed alone, I felt a presence in the bedroom. Spirits and deamons have visited before, but this sensation was different.
Soon I thought I was hearing voices. Not like a night the week before when similar sounds were identified by opening a window and confirming that the haunting voices were indeed a chorus of coyotes feeding nearby.
The wind continued to increase, sometimes enough to feel my centuries old wooden home shake. Then, finally, the rumbles that could have been a truck traveling nearby, or an intruder trying to force entry downstairs, gave way to a sharp, resounding crack.
Night thunder and lightening during a snow fall!
Since then, the damp, anemic weather has given way to proper winter cold. What I at first felt to be some kind of mystic presence was just a potent change in temperature and pressure.
Sometimes, unusual or dramatic episodes are just what it takes to get things back to normal.
Salmon streaks an otherwise blue hued sky as the Delaware trail on Elk Mountain is opened for the day.
Recent temperature swings have trimmed the neighborhood’s autumn auburn in winter silver, a splash of summer green barely visible beneath it all.
A recent coating of ice left most of the trees in the neighborhood 1600 feet and up sparkling to the delight of locals and visitors alike.
Weather the past couple of days has removed snow pack from the neighborhood. Opportunities for it’s replenishment abound in the forecast. Here, steam rises on a recent cold day from a still unfrozen stream.
When approached from the south via Bell Mountain Road, the trip into Clifford affords an expansive view of both north and south knobs.
It’s not typical for cold to come so soon and stay.
Nor typical, so much wet for so long.
Surely Summer would have rained itself out by now.
Yet, through Autumn, threatening into Winter, wet.
Still nice to see familiar pastel Winter shades.
Even if sooner than expected.
Even if wetter than usual.
Coming up the last hill out of East Branch Valley on Lyons Street, my eyes drew to the top of a bare tree across from the pond.
I came upon this individual, or some of his family a few weeks ago, when taking the long way home, a shortcut on Stone Bridge road, about a mile upstream from this perch.
An early appointment the day of the storm had me awake closer to daybreak than usual.
As I walked across the living room, I noticed that the leaves of the houseplant, that “found it’s window” several years ago were trembling.
Even though they calmed to stillness when I stopped walking, I kept looking at the leaves.
I perceived that I saw them start to move again, growing, turning, yearning for pale dawn light.
Movement in the yard drew my eyes through the window, beyond the plant.
There, a sentinel doe draws attention from her young buck as they breakfast. His rack raw and white, velvet recently scraped, now ready for rut, ready for winter.