The New Year swept in on a carpet of white, erasing the sharp lines, the boulders and ditches, all the jagged edges of 2009; for this moment, it hangs in front of us, washed and bleached, an empty palette containing the smallest of brush strokes. It’s impossible to keep the snow clean, though I always wish we could. Occasionally though, a storm hits just right, occurring on a weekend, at the end of a vacation so the town delays the clean up. Then you wake up to an immaculate world, trees slumping their shoulders with the weight of wet snow, an indentation in front of the house where the driveway is supposed to be, a divot for the unplowed street. Out back the ledge becomes a hill of cloth, dimpled only by the snow that has shaken itself off of swaying pines.
It’s rare to capture a moment like this, and you have to get up early. Too soon a convoy of plows rumbles and lurches down the street, steel blades sparking as they hit the frozen pavement. They spin salt-treated sand in their wake and the melting begins. Too soon, we notice the refrigerator is empty of milk and groceries; and the snow in the driveway needs to go too. Footprints walk a path behind the house.
For a time though, the world, like this New Year, is clean and covered. Sound is muted, softened like ears stuffed with cotton and life feels that way too, blanketed, muffled, holding its breath, wrapped in wool and rubbing cold toes together, warming up--while waiting to gear up--underneath.