Maybe it was

I left the house early this morning on my skis, light just coming to the sky, the wind gusting from the south or maybe the east. It was hard to tell. I stopped to feed the cows, forking hay off a large round bale perched just outside their paddock. Round and round the bale I skied, prying loose the hay until I’d accumulated a sufficient pile, then skied it to the barbed wire fence, then pitched the hay to the cows, who’d stood watching the whole time in anticipation of their morning ration. Their flanks crusted in wind-driven snow.

Then into the woods, onto the same perimeter loop I’ve skied 25 or more times already this season, and probably 50 times the season before and also the season before that, so yes I know it well, but of course it’s always different, and today it was the consistency of the wind-blown snow that struck me, so silky and smooth, and I moved fast through the forest, the wind still whipping around me, clouds galloping through the dim lit sky.

Down the hill and across the mountain road, then through the cedar stand, then up the steep climb into our neighbors’ hilltop maple woods, now in full daylight, the tall maples creaking loudly in the wind, a chorus of sound from all directions, and in the midst of it I stopped for a minute just to listen, and it felt almost as if the sound was resonating through me, as if I were somehow a part of it. Or it a part of me.

And I guess maybe it was.