At first it was an annoyance. An early November snowstorm in New York City that caused treacherous conditions and added insult to injury after the still-fresh destruction of hurricane Sandy. But when I woke up this morning I experienced a childlike enchantment when I looked out the window and saw the winter wonderland of white covered twigs and branches bent over from the weight of snow. Even an avowed summer person like myself thought it was pretty cool.
What made the morning even more enjoyable was the presence of critters in the garden. I love the word “critters”. Birds swarmed the birdfeeder oblivious to the fact that it was half-covered in snow. I love how birds don’t give a shit. They flit around, they eat, they chirp, weather conditions be dammed. Then the cats emerged, hungry, mildly irritated that they had to navigate around hills of snow and puddles of slush to get to the food bowl. And then a manic squirrel scampered across my roof, and in doing so sent a bit of snow down to the ground which landed in my driveway. And I also spotted some critter tracks in the snow. Not cat paws, not bird feet, but likely those of a raccoon who must have braved the blizzard last night in search of food and mischief. A nocturnal critter who, like the others, doesn’t give a shit about weather.
The Snow Maiden, by Mikhail Vrubel, 1895. Check out the squirrel in the lower right
I am consumed in my personal life these days, friends. More so than my professional life. But it’s a good thing. It’s a very good thing in fact. Given how easy it is to succumb to stress and anxiety, and worry about the troubling developments taking place in our nation, our culture, and the world, I am positively grateful that I can immerse myself in some happiness and savor the affection being bestowed upon me. It warms my heart and soothes my soul. And I don’t take it for granted. We can turn to love, if we are lucky, or we can turn to music and art, or books, or friendships and family. And of course we can always turn to nature and the critters. CRITTERS!!
Deer in the Snow, Franz Marc, 1911: