I rose early in the morning, pulled back the curtains, and was thrilled to see a light dusting of snow dotting the neighborhood. What a lovely surprise! I wrapped up in my soft robe, grabbed my camera, and slipped outside into the cold dimness of the late autumn dawn. I desperately wanted to capture this snow before it disappeared from sight. Years ago, snow began to fall in late November and continued throughout the winter months. We were blessed in the Northeast with consistent snowcover, lakes and rivers covered with thick ice, and the promise of crisp, cold air each day. In the 1970's slight changes in our winter weather began -- less frequent snowstorms, less snow volume, and slightly higher temperatures that melted the snows between storms.
Now, due to the global warming which is finally being acknowledged by those who denied it for so long, our winters in the Hudson Valley are shorter, warmer, and much less beautiful. I miss the snow. I miss its capacity to smooth the contours of our landscape, to provide protection for the roots of my perennials, to soften the harsh noises of the world. There is nothing so peaceful as a winter evening walk with fresh snow underfoot, and snowflakes falling gently -- the earth is hushed and so is my soul. I miss the traditional Northeast Christmas, with its twinkling lights and evergreen trees against a backdrop of white. I miss moonlight reflecting on a snowy landscape as I take one last look out the window before snuggling under my quilts.
And so, I am wishing for snow. Today the temperatures were cold and the air was brisk -- it felt like late November should feel. But, the weather forecast for Sunday and Monday is predicting temperatures in the high 50's. So, I wait and wonder. Will it snow for Christmas? Will it snow at all? Will my grandchildren be able to make snowmen and slide down snow-covered hills? I realize that global warming is bringing with it much more serious problems than the lack of snow in my little corner of the world, but this dearth of snow saddens me. Maybe my wish will come true, and we will have a few snowstorms this winter -- we have had some winters with snowfalls close to normal. Maybe one of these mornings I will wake to a snow-covered world; maybe we will walk out of church on Christmas Eve to snowflakes drifting down to gather on the sidewalks. For now, I will hold my memories of snow-covered winters past closely to my heart.