LESLIE MCBRIDE WILE
Snow arrived mid-morning, shortly after the last magpie deserted the tall maples, leaving bare branches to catch whatever they might of the fine, wind-driven whiteness. I’d been waiting since early, fretting over whether the air would be cold enough for snow. Certainly the sky was the flat, no-color blankness that often yields snow, and the mountains were obliterated as if leveled overnight, or blotted right out of existence by the shadowless dawn. With no early sun to light their peaks, the whole range had gone, swallowed by an absolute emptiness so full of possibility. Still I waited, anxious for the wintry promise to pay out.
I needn’t have worried, ought never to have doubted. I should have trusted in Nature and the prescience of the magpies. The birds read all the signs: a steady breeze out of the west, damp and lowering skies, and at just the right moment abandoned their open perches for closer shelter.
By noon the wind dies away; having carried winter down from the mountains it rests, letting the snow drop of its own weight. Tiny snow shards soften, lighten into flakes and fall slowly, steadily downward. The weightless veil thickens, draws closer, while strange light leaches every color to grey, caught inside an engulfing whiteness.
The waiting is over; I have a snowy day, which satisfies me as nothing else can do.
Pictures by Leslie McBride Wile, an American who lives in Mondovì.
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