When the Snows Come
My husband and I sit in our living room with all the little still-intact dairy barn windows showing flakes falling as if we are on ship at sea in a snowfall. Except for the high ceiling the living room has the feeling of a ship cabin, our converted dairy barn, and I think it is most beautiful when the snow is falling.
The glass doors at the pentagon of the far end of the barn gives us perfect view of the suet bird feeder. We only feed the birds suet in winter because in summer a fat raccoon comes and eats the whole suet cake in one sitting. The bird feeder in winter is our television. We watch male cardinals, bright red in the stark white, feed and contend with the beautiful, bullying blue jays. And the more modest and gentle little juncos and sparrows touch our hearts with their humility.
One winter, when the snow had covered the ground for a month or so and turned to solid ice we watched horrified as squirrels clawed at the feeder and fought with one another for a chance to feed making their shrill cries of territoriality. That hasn’t happened since and we think the ground was too frozen for them to retrieve the nuts and such that they buried in the fall and they were fighting off starvation.
Waking up in the morning there is no need for a weather report as we see the snow piled high on the surrounding trees and we see the sky through the second story doorway in the barn where they used to bring hay inside, now a cathedral window in our bedroom. The thermometer in the former hay loft tells us how cold it is though we can feel how chill the air is. It is great to wake up to see the squirrels running along the limbs of the trees, cleaning off the heavy snow. They seem friskiest just aftter a snowfall.
And if we are lucky and the snow is deep enough we get out our snow shoes and climb up the hill behind our little barn to what we were once told was a Christian Indian burial ground. There are no markers left but the spot has the air of the sacred and it affords a small view of the Catskills in winter. High on the hill overlooking the valley, it seems a perfect place for a burial ground. The snowfall makes it easier to walk the hill which in the summer is too full of saplings and underbrush to be able to walk the “meadow” as we call it. We only get it brush hog mowed once a year.
Our property does not include the entire meadow but on our half of the meadow there is a squat fir tree there which provides a great shelter for deer in a storm and the deer love the meadow. There are a few blown over trees. And as we snow shoe we see all kinds of animal tracks which we attempt to identify. And animal shelters from the harsh elements.
Like many barns, ours was built near the road so we do get some traffic noise. But in the meadow we are far removed from the road and its bustle. And when it snows, it is so beautiful in the quiet, looking at the animal tracks and feeling the spirits in the graveyard. Our secret little piece of Paradise. And to stand there in the silence, in the virgin white, and see the abstract patterns of the snow on the surrounding hundreds of trees is divine.
Welcome to samples of my writing and art work showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.” “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.