The snow wore itself out during the night and the morning dawned flawless and quiet. The sun was bright all day, the sky a clear, robin’s egg blue, and the wind blew crisp. A quick trip this morning to the post office in Hermosa, camera in hand, yielded a gorgeous view of distant Harney Peak. The mountain rose silver out of a black expanse of pines. To the north, Mt. Rushmore was clearly visible, not yet shadowed over by Harney Peak.
The trees along our driveway cast beautiful blue shadows across the road, and a doe stood stock still in the middle of the driveway as I approached. When I stopped the truck to see about getting a picture of her, she lost track of her own feet and nearly took a spill in the snow, before recovering and speeding effortlessly off. I got out and looked around. Such a changeable landscape from season to season. The familiar driveway, the well-known bends and curves of the gravel road, the pines and chokecherry and red rocks are so changed when bathed in snow and chill blue light.
Snow fell quietly from branches of the pines and a four-point buck bounded through the trees on the hills above me, then disappeared from sight. Golden sunlight sifted through the trees, glinting and dazzling. Clouds of powder snow glimmered and sparkled, sifting with the sunlight, scattering to the wind. Snow clung to the pine needles, and covered the red rocks with glistening white caps, and blanketed the red ground. Grasses and sage poked up through the snow.
The grasses and once-flowering plants seem to take on new life in the winter. The color of summer melts away with the first frosts of autumn and winter, but what remains is a delicate silver memory of what was there in the warmer months. The foliage dries and a new sort of flower shimmers in the cold winter sunlight, or peeks from blue shadowed places beneath the bluff. How beautiful everything is in the winter! The remaining silver-brown stalks and leaves and buds seem to belong to the snow, like a flowering blue flax seems to belong to the green grass in the summer.
Chapped hands, tingling toes, and smarting ears are a small price to pay for glimpses of the subtle beauty of the winter. The cold is worth the beauty that winter affords.
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