it all looked pristine for a while, after it snowed. a fresh blanket of white covering our yard and its blemishes. for the time before the wind started blowing and the snow started shifting, you couldn’t tell that the front yard was all torn up, that there is a large grassless mound – like a dune on the long island coastline – that stretches from our house all the way to the street.
the backyard also. pristine. a white canvas, dotted with tall old evergreen trees, ornamental grasses gone to brown, feathery plumes waving, the pond frozen and still.
there are folks whose yards will continue to look that way – pristine. the snow will remain untouched, smooth, perfectly showcasing shadows as the sun peers through tree limbs and plants in fallow.
the moment we open the back door and dogdog runs out, the illusion of perfection ceases. pawprints obscure the shadow art as he tears into the blanket of snow, nose down, gleefully devouring it as he goes. he is a winter dog. there is no doubt about it. he comes in reluctantly – laden with snow – after laying on the deck on top of snow, surrounded by snow, under new snowfall. it is his time.
sometimes i wonder if we can just save the front yard, just not walk in it, just not let it be disturbed. we can look out the window and gaze at that which makes everything profoundly beautiful.
but then there are squirrels dancing about in the snow and the tiny footprints of birds. there are prints of a stray cat and maybe a raccoon or two. the grasses dip under the weight and the gusts, brushing aside snow like small brooms. there are bootprints of the guys who installed our temporary sidewalk and shoeprints of our postal, ups, fedex, amazon delivery people bringing us mail, cards from people we care about, packages of things we need. the wind has blown off the straw-covered mound, exposing the filled-in trench of a new water service line, a tiny winter miracle in itself.
and i realize that as stunning as pristine is, it is perhaps illusory and most definitely ephemeral.
instead, we celebrate the messy, the prints in the snow, the elated dog, the windblown fresh snowfall, creatures seeking food and shelter, the interrupted shadows.