There ought to be a word for the soft, light, fluffy snow we had on the last day of 2007, the kind that sticks to the branches and smallest twigs of trees and shrubs, creating the celebrated winter wonderland of old Christmas cards and Bing Crosby movies. You have to be an early bird or you'll miss the best part, just after dawn, before the sun makes the draped decor drop to the ground. If we receive one such snow job per season, we're lucky.
Looking ahead in the long-range weather forecasts, there appears to be a lot of snow coming in the first week or so of the new year. Of course, when they're unsure, the forecasters predict a chance of this and a chance of that, in order to be right no matter what the weather. If the seers are correct, more snow would be a good thing. Winter snow protects plants and animals during harsh times, when cold and scarcity of resources threaten survival. This week's snow looks to be especially kind to animals. Maybe it's the stickiness of it, but the snowfall left open all the little doorways at the bases of trees and rock outcrops. These little gateways, where small mammals go in and out, and birds occasionally drop by to peck at the bare ground for insects and seeds, darkly dot the newly whitened landscape.
As I finish this off to meet this week's holiday deadline, I see the snow clumps on the trees are few and far between. The temperature has risen from 33 to 40 degrees. By the time this reaches readers, the landscape will have taken on a different look. Maybe most of the snow will be gone, maybe more snow, or more rain, or something with a different name, will have fallen.
And winter is not yet half over.