When I gaze at the comforter of bright snow draped over my patio and beyond, the beauty of it all becomes a welcome distraction from the task in front of me, which is writing. Since I’m composing an essay about the memorable snows I’ve known, it seems only right that I stop to consider the snow that hugs my holly bushes like whipped cream, letting only sprigs of green remain topside, as if they were laurel wreaths. And since wreaths of laurel are symbols of triumph, I’d say last week’s blizzard has won Mother Nature’s contest and deserves such recognition.

Writing is my pleasure.  Since I live alone, I can write whenever it pleases me. My cottage is located within a retirement community, built on acreage which serves as a wildlife habitat. Not long ago, the snow plows cleared my street and driveway, giving me back my quiet world, so I can once again enter the scene.   

The chickadees burrowing into the depths of my pine trees make me wonder how they’ll ever survive. The fluttering creatures remind me of another bird caught in the snow, in Claude Monet’s oil painting of The Magpie—a blackbird who perches on top of an old fence, above the sparkling snow piled beneath him. Monet created this Impressionist snowscape–one of the 140 he painted—in the late 1860s during a time of severe French winters.  It’s a favorite of mine.  

The Magpie 1869 by Claude Monet, courtesy of

While I trod along the pathways in my community, I find all sorts of animal tracks over the mountains of snow. I take close-up photos with my iPhone so I can research what creatures were there: a deer, a racoon, a fox?  And, when the sun shines a certain way, I’m delighted at how it makes the snow glisten, much like Monet’s. 

As I sit at my high table in front of my open laptop with my coffee mug at hand, I glance outside and see the fraternity of Canada Geese land next to the pond. I’m happy to see them again, and wish those entertaining characters would stay a while.  

Last week during my daily walk, I saw four geese glide in and touch down on the ice-crested part of the pond, leaving the open water to their leader who, after testing the ice, found it more appealing. I stopped to watch as the others cautiously padded across the ice toward him. Their awkwardness made me chuckle, as they lined up like good soldiers on detail, one behind the other. Without a quack, the last fellow in line sank through the ice in slow motion. The one ahead took his turn, as did the third, each paddling with great consternation toward their leader, who must have thought, What Dumbclucks!  

I turn back to my writing reluctantly, leaving the geese for another day, but feeling refreshed by the intermission–a pause that’s given me new ideas for my essay, and reminded me why I like living here.  

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