Friday, February 22, 2008

Hoar Frost

Written in second person, just for the fun of it!

Since you started walking to somewhere, you've been dropping off your husband at work every morning--you start an hour later than he does--and, once you've parked the car behind the shop, you head out for a brisk walk. You pull your knitted headband low over your forehead and ears and tug on your fleece gloves. It's a cold one today, and you're glad you grabbed the coat that goes to your knees. It will help keep your thighs from going numb.

A damp fog settled over the valley last night, and the visibility is still low. It's not dangerous to walk, though, so long as you watch out for patches of ice. Yesterday's temperatures got several degrees above freezing, and the resulting melt-off was shocked to a halt overnight, icing over wherever it happened to be.

The air is crisp, smelling of wood smoke and frost, as you hike north on eleventh avenue, up the hill. Hoar frost graces every strand of nature. The shrub on your right has feathery fronds that reach heavenward, each minute hair delicately crisped with white. The cedar up the block, the pine across from it--each needle accentuated.

This chain link fence is utilitarian and normally slinks in the background. Today you marvel at the precision of the stark white grids, blazoning its presence. The wrought iron on the fence down the block is also covered with white crystals, giving it a fuzzy appearance.

Your cheeks and chin and nose are burning with cold, but when you cover them with your gloved hands, your glasses fog up, rendering you blind. You pause a moment, unsure of your footing until you can see again.

Your attention is caught by birds fluttering and chirping, so you hurry around the corner to see what they're excited about. You stop in awe at the sight of a mountain ash tree, delicately painted in white frost, every twig, every clump of red berries frosted over. A bird feeder hangs from a branch, and the LBBs* are having the best time swooping from ground to feeder and back again, chittering with each other as they go.

Intended walking route forgotten, you catch a glimpse around the next corner and head over to see what new marvels await. You're so glad you did, for a majestic weeping willow stands streaming with tails of frost, hundreds upon thousands of them, each delicately outlined. In the corner of the yard, a clump of ornamental grasses at least ten feet tall has never looked as festive as it does today.

Beauty is all around you, and even though you can't wait for spring, you can't help but treasure this morning walk.

*LBBs are otherwise known as Little Brown Birds.


Margaret said...

That's beautiful, val. Very full of imagery. Also shows your dedication to walking...

Jean said...

Even though the POV is unusual to read, I have to agree with Margaret about the superb imagery.

Bonnie said...

That's a gorgeous piece of writing, Val. Mmmmmm.