Large fat flakes fell as the dogs and I walked this morning, all the way to the old feeder ponds behind the highway department. The surface is still frozen though timid soul I’ve become I won’t test it, wish the dogs wouldn’t either. These trails – littered as always with beer cans, busted tail lights from sleds – are trails I have known – walked – since I was nine, ten years old. Cut through the bracken where in summer we pick blackberries and followed the dogs up to the ridge, skidding along the icy trail, getting snow in my boots. Wanted to see the sunrise, forgetting that snow clouds would obscure it! Late in life I have become an optimist, and also a fool.
Most pleasing to my ear was the brook in spring spate, a low thrumming in the forest punctuated by chickadees. Chickadees and – when we returned – crows, many of the latter leaving the woods to visit backyards and farms, their hunger no doubt knotting inside them after so much cold. They howled at me where I stood in the driveway admiring them, remembering Robert Frost’s “The way a crow/Shook down on me . . . ” which was one of the first poems I ever memorized of my own volition and still like to say aloud from time to time. I didn’t go looking for miracles today but they were there. So much communication in the world that I ignore, or just plain miss despite better intentions, being focused on words like these! “Large fat flakes fell . . . ”
“I know, I know,” I said to the crows, smiling what I thought was a rueful smile, one a crow would like. They leaped off the sodden branches of the front yard maple tree, circled my head and disappeared, silently.
That was how today began.