Along with the trials of winter come its delights. Some are rare and fleeting, like hoar frost; we hope others are lasting, such as a blanketing of snow. One of my favorite aspects of the season is what I might call the "Winter Wonderland" effect: snow that clings to every surface, branch and bough and grass stem. If the weather conditions are perfect, this can last for several days, but more often the trees are bare within a few hours. Yesterday we had a brief January thaw, accompanied by rain; this after a bitter cold beginning of the month, which I wrote about here. Overnight the rain turned to a heavy wet snow, and I woke this morning to a white world. When snow clings to branches, there is a doubling effect: the dark lines of branch are emphasized by their ghostly twin. An apple tree tree becomes a welter of lines.
Branches are highlighted against the dark wood, their more delicate lines encased in soft covers.
The curves of hydrangea branches become clear and rhythmic with the snow.
Even a slanting support wire cover has its snowy twin.
In the woods, the crisscross of branches is brightened by the lines of snow.
With a bit of sun peaking out from scudding clouds, snow-lined branches are haloed.
The spaces in the woods shift and sparkle; instead of browns and gray-greens above, there is white, white that encloses the thin lines of dark, and it makes a fairyland.
This magical kingdom did not last: the temperature rose and the wind blew, and by late afternoon much of the snow had fallen off the branches. Earlier, frozen droplets of moisture dangled poignantly from the ends of evergreens. Snow, water, ice: winter's varied precipitation.