Millbrook After Five Inches of Fresh Snow

Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose
Get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter

-Tori Amos, Winter

We got a skiff of fresh snow overnight at our house Thursday night into Friday, not even an inch. But boy was I in for a big surprise when I drove in to State College for work. They got an unexpected five inches of fresh, fluffy snow! It was powdery and lightweight . . . like the down of a thistle, as they say, or perhaps more like the feathers of an angel's wings.

I had been hoping to get to Millbrook Marsh on this day anyway, and the fresh snow was an added bonus. There was just one set of footprints on one part of the boardwalk when I got there. So for most of my walk, I broke snow and mine were the only tracks.

It was flurrying lightly when I arrived, and the flurries came and went the whole time I was there, which might have been about a half-hour, though I wished for much more. Dark clouds were trying to give way to sunlight; the traditional battle of light vs. darkness was being waged above my head, with a bit of bluebird sky thrown in for good measure.

It was such a light snow that any little wind - or even the movement of a tiny bird - set clumps of snow flying on the breeze. I was mindful of my camera, and kept it covered with my hand to protect it from the snow.

It was cold, but not quite as cold as the very coldest mornings we've had lately. It might have been around 12 degrees F. And I have to tell you that I was beyond toasty warm. I had on plenty of gear, and breaking fresh snow (even a fluffy snow like this) is harder work than you might think; in fact, by the time I was done, I was sweated wet from the effort. Not cold; nope, not cold at all.

I can't help but think that these may be some of the last snows we see, as we head from February into March. And so I treated it as the special gift that it was. I walked the boardwalk and admired the fresh-made winter wonderland; I said good morning to the kingfisher and the mallards and the Canada geese and the bright red cardinal; I took a bunch of pictures; and I left with a great big smile on my face!

The song to accompany this winter image is from my favorite Tori Amos album, Little Earthquakes. Released in 1992, her debut solo effort features many wonderful songs, and it would be difficult for me to select a favorite. Here is Tori Amos, with Winter.

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