It started out as rain, then many hours of mist. Later, heavy wet snow changed to sleet and back again, weighing down and soaking seed heads, decorative grass and the few leaves that haven’t fallen from the trees. This snow is likely to stay for the rest of the winter, given the subzero temperatures and the prediction of more snow to arrive on Sunday.
I’m not a winter person, I’m a summer gal. I miss the melodious birdsong, the activity of butterflies, bees and colorful beetles in our garden, the leafed-out trees, the warmth of the sun and the long, long hours of northern daylight. But I try to find the raw, stark beauty revealed in the winter months. It is not the vivid, vital beauty of summer. No, it is a harsh beauty that complements the cold, brittle air, stinging wind and sharp light of December.
The season’s first “sticking” snow is likely to remain until spring.
When snow falls, a temporary hush settles over the city, dampening the noise of traffic and aircraft, and making it easier to hear nature’s sounds — the quiet ticking of sleet and snowflake on spent plant stalks, the rustle and crackle of brittle leaves in the wind, a chickadee’s call and the honking of geese flying low overhead.
This snow wasn’t as pretty as most because it was too soggy to etch and highlight trees and other plants. But, I found a few lovely, wintry sights in the yard:
Red leaf barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘atropurpurea’) fruit is encased in freezing rain.
A single beacon apple (Malus ‘beacon’) leaf decorates a snowy landscape.
A purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) seed head sparkles with beads of sleet.
Snow frosts the tips of an evergreen Korean boxwood bush (Buxus microphylla var. koreana).
Snow softens the rough, scaly bark of a 60-year-old beacon apple tree (Malus ‘beacon’).
Tightly closed Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) buds are dusted with falling snow.