Rain turns to snow overnight, and by morning there’s three inches or more. The sky is so low it reaches right down to the ground. Standing by the cows’ fence as their water trough fills, I watch the snow fall, and can just discern the plume of smoke rising from Peter’s house down across the pasture, on the other side of the big beaver lodge and then the mountain road. Smoke rising, snow falling, sky low. The cows nosing at the sweet hay I’ve thrown over the fence.
When the trough is full I walk up the hill into the woods just because I haven’t in a while. The ground is soft beneath the snow, though the snow makes it seem softer still. It sticks to the needled limbs of the conifers. The hardwoods are lean and bony and almost black against all that white. I follow my main skid road for a ways, then veer in an easterly direction across the gentle slope of the land. When I stop I can hear the snow falling, but so faintly it requires a certain faith to believe in what I’m hearing. Maybe it’s just a trick of the senses. But I don’t think so.
Later, I drive over the unplowed mountain road. It’s still snowing, and even in four wheel drive, the truck slips and lurches over and across the ruts and potholes and washboards. Last week I’d thought to have the winter tires swapped for summers, and now am pleased with myself for having had the foresight to wait, though in truth there’s been no cunning on my part. Just procrastination leading to inaction, one of those moments – and the older I get, the more frequently they seem to arise – when doing nothing was actually the smartest thing to do.