As lovely as the snow is by day, I find the glimmering whiteness even more enchanting by the light of the moon, when the silver light filters through the bare branches of trees, casting strange and silent shadows on the flawless snow. Instead of blinding brilliance, the ground glints with a cold, unearthly sort of a light. The moonbeams seem to stream from the sky in a transparent flood, and the very air seems richer, almost as if it could be cupped in the hands and tasted.
The cold seems less significant in the moonlight. I don’t know why. But with the cloudless sky winking with stars and the snow winking with diamond-light, the moon streaming silver and the wind hushed about the trees, unmoving and silent, the cold seems reluctant to chill or burn or bother. When I lift up my face to the moonlight, with the snow glowing and reflecting and shimmering, I almost feel that my face could be washed by the light.
Today, though, winter is retreating, temporarily. The earth waits expectantly. Or, perhaps, sleeps in contentment. Either way, the earth is still.
The spell of the first snow, as fragile as a snowflake dissolved by a single, warm breath, has faded in the warmth of the springlike November air, unseasonably mild and sweet. Ice remains on the creeks and lakes, in places where the sun doesn’t reach, holding fast to the sheltered banks, but slowing giving way to the water. Only patches of snow cling to the northern slopes of hills and beneath the branches of trees, like memories of shadows.
For now, winter is still elusive. But she will come.