|Later in the day, the lights on the trees outside Stong's grocery store give Dunbar Street a magical quality. Photo by John (after he'd shoveled our sidewalk for the third or fourth time.)|
On Thursday, I was rejoicing at seeing the first crocus bloom of the year. On Friday, half a foot of snow fell on it. So we're back in winter mode, shoveling the walks, putting down de-icer and brushing the heavy wet accumulations off the trees. Vancouverites aren't used to this much winter in winter, and the predictable grumbling is going on. But the snow is still beautiful when it first falls, turning our world slightly mysterious, slightly magical.
John captures it in his photographs, and nearly a century ago, English author D.H. Lawrence did the same thing in words. Recounting a country walk in a February 1919 letter to fellow writer Katherine Mansfield, he drew on a childhood immersed in the natural world to describe the wonders revealed by the snow.
"Yesterday I went out for a real walk-- I've had a cold and been in bed," he begins. "I climbed with my niece to the bare top of the hills. Wonderful it is to see the footmarks on the snow -- beautiful ropes of rabbit prints, trailing away over the brows; heavy hare marks; a fox, so sharp and dainty, going over the wall; birds with two feet that hop; very splendid straight advance of a pheasant; wood-pigeons that are clumsy and move in flocks; splendid little leaping marks of weasels, coming along like a necklace chain of berries; odd little filigree of the field-mice; the trail of a mole -- it is astonishing what a world of wild creatures one feels round one, on the hills, in the snow."