"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

25 October 2012

The Aspects of Snow

Meteorological professionals down below called it the second snowfall of the season. I suppose such an event is a matter of aspect. True, there was about an inch of powder on the grass back at the beginning of the month, but, aside from documentation, that almost doesn't count. Besides, there were dustings up upon the tundra a week or two before that. As I shoveled my walk in the pre-dawn light, I was willing to call it the first real snowfall of the season. Then again, depending upon your philosophical bent, real can be a dubious proposition. A matter of aspect.

Because I'm committed, or perhaps should be, I am still being a footwalker and a bike rider. We've all but sold my vehicle and are in the process of procuring a new one. One without the metaphoric albatross of payments. I'll start driving again then, or during the coldest of January, whichever comes first. Then again, me being me, I'll probably catch myself coming up with rationalization not to burn fuel, and still be riding, walking, or perhaps even snowshoeing to where I want to go. I have layers, and I'm not afraid to use them.

That's how I ended up on the bike path in the snow...

If you think about it, a bicycle is essentially a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Like driving a mechanized vehicle in the snow, one needs to be mindful of conditions. Under dry conditions, when riding down valley, I hurtle down at the speed of pure inertia. It's fun! The vertical feet whizzing by like that. With the snow, and a thin crust of ice beneath, I was more inclined to use my breaks, moving at just a bit more than walking speed. There was still the wind of motion, threatening to leave ice crystals in my beard. Next to me on the Road, things with combustion engines did not move much faster. Snowflakes swirled around us. Low hanging clouds coiled about the peaks in manner of serpents and Chinese dragons. Our Sahel looks strangely beatific in those first snowfalls.

A wise man of my acquaintance once noted that winter isn't bad, just different. I brought this up to a preservationist I know when she mentioned the sense of mysticism in the the first snows, the preludes of winter. Living within the bosom of the Rockies, I've come to see that snow is not bad, just different. Even with my twisted skeleton, I find myself not dreading the coming of winter. After all, I have layers, and I'm not afraid to use them.


  1. I, too, am unafraid to call upon my layers when needed.

    Gravy, down coats, and non-leaking windows to you, fellow Winter Person,

    1. Thank you. Though, I prefer curry to gravy, even if they are one and the same ;).

  2. I turned off the air conditioner Tuesday when it got down to 85. Turned the heater on this morning when we woke to a frozen pipe. AH...Amarillo weather...

    I think there is a certain mysticism in the first snowfall. I can wait to speed through it in my new, payment bearing Ford Focus. :)

    1. I thought it never froze in your part of the world, learn something new every day ;p.

  3. Perhaps a bike crash in the snow would hurt less...I shall have to think on this.

    I admit to not being a huge fan of Sir Winter. This may simply be to my childhood at 9,000+ feet where we usually had piles of the stuff from early September until June. Kinda filled up on snow. (and having 300 animals we had to tunnel/dig out every severe storm...sigh)

    However, that being said...if I'm snug inside and the fire roars and the whiskey is plentiful, I can be quite content.

    ps. I read somewhere that one of the magical qualities of snow is that it makes your lawn look just as spectacular as your neighbors. :)

    1. I live at 9160 and sometimes I think I lived through worse storms out in eastern Colorado growing up. It's taken some time, but I've learned to deal with winter. After all, living where I do, dealing with the dark and the cold for more than half the year is price of admission.