Before the snow. Feeding chickadees

The snow began falling late yesterday morning. I was deep in the woods extracting a large ash I’d dropped months before but had been too busy to retrieve, moving slow because I’m sick but still enjoying the way the forest feels on the cusp of a storm. Quiet but with a gathering energy, the midday sky shades of steel. I halved the length of ash for easier extraction, choked the two halves, and drew them in with the winch. A nice, nice piece of firewood, 70-feet long if it were an inch, nearly a foot-and-half across at the base. It’d been half-dead on the stump already. All dead now.

I skidded the tree down to the house, bucked it, and the four of us set to splitting, though I ducked into the house for a time to dry out and drink some tea, during which I watched my family through the window, listening to the metronomic thwacks of the splitting mauls, the murmur of a conversation I strained to make out but could not. Feeling a little guilty over my proximity to the fire while they labored in the snow. But not too guilty. I’d done my share. I’d do more before the day was out.

This morning the snow was falling still, though short of forecasts; there was maybe five-inches on the ground at daybreak, not the expected ten or more. Beautiful nonetheless. I blazed fresh trails on my chore rounds – to the cow water, to the layers, to the pigs. Still sick, still moving slow, the energy of yesterday now tempered by the quieting sensation of the new fallen snow. I never really wanted to live anywhere it doesn’t snow, though come April I’ll be weary of it like everyone else, watching it slowly disappear from the north-facing hills, wishing for a warm rain to wash the last of it away.

•     •     •

It’s almost the New Year, which seems like an appropriate time to mention how much I appreciate all my readers. I feel incredibly grateful to have such a kind, thoughtful, and supportive readership. Honestly, writing here wouldn’t be the same without you. Thank you.

33 thoughts on “Snow”

  1. Happy New Year…..I do not comment usually – but I always read!!
    I enjoy your words……and Thank you for for them!

  2. I love your writing and I read it aloud, even when I’m surrounded by people and have to read aloud silently. When I finish reading a piece, I feel satiated, replete: I don’t know what need in myself your words satisfy, but satisfy they do. Thank you.

  3. Wishing you all good health. I am with you on the snow. And rain for that matter. Here in Arizona it dumped a foot of snow on Christmas Eve and kids got crazy for a few days. Snow angels, snow cones, snow forts, snow men, snow creatures, snow balls, icicle antlers, you name it. 🙂 Even the birds seemed to go fiery enjoying shaking snow puffs off the pines. I cannot imagine growing up without snow and ice. Snow is all but gone on Granite rocks now and lizzards crawling back out to sun, and folks are playing tennis in shorts, but few miles down the road in the tall pines still a foot of snow for sleding!!
    So grateful for your writing!! Happy New Year to you all and may your firewood never run out.

  4. Thanks Ben. I read everything you write here, and am sustained by it. It contributes to my feeling that life is okay.

    Happy New Year to you & fambly & a speedy recovery.

  5. Always look forward to seeing your name in my “in-box”, as I know it will something worth reading…love your writing, love the imagery…please keep it up! And please feel better soon…

  6. I’ve been reading your stories since we moved to Vermont 10 years ago. Thank you for sharing and keeping it real. Best wishes, health and happiness to you and yours Lyear.

  7. Love this photo! I’ve always wanted to feed a chickadee by hand. Doesn’t surprise me a bit that you can do so. I am so grateful for all of your words and how much they enrich my life. Peace and Blessings to the whole Hewitt family for the new year!

  8. I also love this picture! I can’t wait to show it to my daughter tomorrow…. thanks for being a huge influence and inspiration in my life, I am a better person for reading your words. Hope you feel better soon…

  9. I also don’t normally comment, but I really find your writing meaningful and enjoy each blog update – thank you for taking the time to write!

  10. Ben- wishing you inner peace & much happiness in this New Year! I join the others who read but don’t comment. Really appreciate the thoughts you share & the photos. Al the best to you & your family.

  11. I was so caught up in your resilience despite illness, I forgot to wish you and your family a happy new year. May 2017 be filled with good cheer, great friends, and perfect health.

    Your writing gives form to the questions, ideas, and observations that many of us have, but are unable to convey so beautifully. At least it does for me, as you know. What a gift. Thank you for showing up and for sharing, as you do.


  12. Ben — All the best to you and your family in the New Year. I don’t usually comment, but look forward to your words and musings hitting my inbox more than you’ll ever know. Keep on keepin’ on in 2017! You’re an inspiration to this forty-something suburban husband/dad/hack writer/guitar player/rock music lover/outdoors lover/runner/novice spoon carver… well, you get the picture. Thanks for being you.

  13. Happy New Year! I have the same sentiments regarding the snow…it is so beautiful right now. We just had about 10cm fall and it’s nice, light and fluffy. Come March I will be willing it away, I am sure.

  14. Happy New Year to all!

    I’m sure that all of the ski areas in VT and NH are happy to have lots of snow to attract skiers and their discretionary income.

  15. One nice thing about cold weather is hand feeding birds is easier. I’ve had the best luck hand feeding pine siskins in the worst of sub-zero weather in February. Black-capped chickadees and American goldfinches have always regarded me as a bit scary, I guess.

  16. The appreciation is all mine, Ben. I appreciate your writing, as well as the readership too. It is such fun in the comments. I wish a happy and prosperous New to you and yours.

  17. ditto, love visiting here and reading your thoughts. You put into words what i’m thinking about things but am not able to put into words myself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s