Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Day

The year has dawned as the old one ended; cold and clear. A perfect day to get out the camera and snow-shoes. I strapped my trusty blue and silver supports over my insulated boots. I then headed east through the small meadows and stands of Ponderosa Pines to the edge of the basaltic cliff rimming the Latah Creek drainage. Then lazily southward and up to the ‘viewpoint’ a few blocks from home, stopping occasionally to snap a picture of snow shadows and tree silhouettes. The most striking visual on this very cold, still day is the cascade of brilliant crystals of snow and ice that tumble silently from the pine needles and apparently from the moisture in the atmosphere itself. I surmised this from the fact that I saw the same event from an empty wheat field this morning while cross-country skiing. There was nary a tree or power line for over 500 yards in any direction. Tumbling gracefully, these ethereal and ephemeral glints of gossamer ice make you think of stories of the snow fairies of northern mythologies. It is certainly easy to understand the cultural need to explain such unabashed beauty.