The wind blew cold last night, colder than it has all season. This morning my Edenic world lies frozen and quiet; my beautiful Smoky Mountains adorned in powdered wigs worthy of the Crown’s Barristers and set against a backdrop of the purest azure skies.
A winter’s storm stops life in the mountains. There will be no descent from my secluded perch set high above the valley; my driveway is a sheet of ice disguised under a crisp white blanket of snow. I can see down through the trees that the switchback, the only egress to the county road far below is equally as treacherously coated and impossible to transgress. The weathergirl on the local news is predicting that we will not see defrosting temperatures for several more days, so I am here, in a glorious voluntary exile.
I am prepared, as one must be when you live atop of a steep grade. There is food, emergency heat, backup power, gas for the grill, if needed, and I even stocked up on movies and wine. Two days ago as the weather approached, I drove three counties over and picked up a friend to keep me company and share the isolation of this snow-in. It is a pleasure, even in these early hours where the sun is not yet fully present, to hear the rhythmic slumber of another person in this house accustomed to only myself and my dog.
I know she will rise soon and much to my consternation, her first chore will be to brave the below zero temperatures to inhale the perilous vapors of her Marlboro reds. My dog will, of course, want to go smoke, too, but his duration will be less than a full minute before the icy deck will become too uncomfortable for his paws. The door will open and they both will step out, and the door will open again so that Sebastian can race the stairs to the warmth and comfort of his bed beneath my desk.
Yes, my ever-changing environment is frozen and still. The forest and valley that continually please my eyes in the kaleidoscopic emeralds of spring, shadowed canopies of summer, and the Joseph’s Coat of autumn is now whitewashed in crystalline precipitation. In the distance, the four-lane is deserted, as schools, the government and most businesses have either closed for the day or will abide a necessary tardiness from their attendees. The mountains and the valley are frozen; frozen both in temperature and from the inertia of motionlessness. There are no cars scurrying to meet its driver’s deadline, no trucks en route to scheduled deliveries and no tractors laboring in the fields, even the livestock of farms that surround my little peak are silent, nestled in the warmth and security of their barn.
Wintertime can be harsh, but I am blessed to live in such a beautiful place; I see the cold and snow as nothing more than the depth of color on a master’s canvas, a suggested emotion guised in a poet’s stanza, the subtle diminished 7th tones in Nature’s grand symphony and yet one more muse for my writing.
Good morning world.