Just outside with the dogs, on an afternoon that feels like a sigh: grey but not quite glum or gloomy, not stormy but snowing a misty sort of snow that blurs the edge of the bare tree boles and branches and twigs, and leaves the sky to melt into the landscape below it. It’s quiet – the kind of quiet where the silence itself is loud. There is no wind, no sounds of airplanes or people or dogs barking or snowmobiles or anything but the silence and the occasional muffled creak of the snow under the dogs’ paws as they shift, staring at me – “what next?, what now?”. I sigh. The world is muffled by snow – piles of it on the ground, on the tents, on the porch and the dog houses, mounds that will be uncovered to reveal things I’ve forgotten I’ve left out and will be vaguely surprised to rediscover in a few months, but just at this moment, there’s just snow.
And then, into the almost deafening stillness, from the middle distance, from a direction I can’t determine, one, brief, mad-cap, joyful, trill of birdsong. Spring, inexorable, inevitable, thumbing it’s nose at winter, promising, laughingly, it’s almost-imminent return. I smiled. The dogs wagged their tails.
And for now we turned our backs on the snow, on the grey, back into the warmth and light of the house, cheered by the cheeky determination of that little bird in singing spring’s welcome on a ho-hum February afternoon.