I’ve been re-writing my book (63 years old and I’m still a one-book wonder). After a few hours of frustrating struggle with the jigsaw puzzle of Chapter 10, I tossed in the towel and headed out into the soft gray afternoon. Hunting season is over but I wore my yellow vest anyway. Snow is gently falling, lazy and feckless, flakes seemingly as inclined to float up as down, but they must be going down more, because the hard dirt road is turning white as I mount the hill to the orchard to look out over the cove.
Enough snow to make a bit of a veil between me and the mussel boys, down in the harbor cheerily bellowing sea shanties as they wash and tumble the clumps of almond-shaped bivalves away from the kelp and starfish that grow down there with them. The aural picture is much clearer than the visual in the gathering gloom, so I can see what they are doing painted in the sound, like the clean mussels in net bags plopped crunchily down on the deck, soon to head south to the restaurants.
I turn into the woods, where the snow skitters with tiny clicks on the leaves of the forest floor. I lie with my head on a log and let this first snow tickle my face. Coming up from the shore of the point back through the orchard I startle about 40 geese, who take off noisily overhead, pummeling the air, silhouetted against the last of the light – I thought they’d all left already.
It’ll likely be gone tomorrow – the winters are later and milder than ever, so I salute this moment of purity when everything is etched in white like the face of a Carmelite nun.