|Bobo by the Fire|
|High in the Sky, A Patch of Blue|
|Blue Reflection in Driveway Pools|
But it is warmer than it was. Much warmer now that the early arctic front has lifted and the snow has ceased falling. It feels like a "cease fire" in the cold war that winter wages upon the land.
Hoar frost is the frozen dew that gathers ice crystals on pine needles. You can see the visible line on the mountain tops where dew becomes ice because the trees at that elevation are all dressed in white.
High above the rank of hoar frost, above the thick steel-wool of lingering clouds, blue sky shines through as brilliant as a stained glass window in a stone church. It feels reverent, a call to worship.
The patch of sky is so blue that it pools blue reflections upon the melting driveway. Two days ago, the snow hid all the blacktop and grass. The air warmed up so much that yesterday that it rained. Now patches of blue sky and brown grass smudge color where only white and gray had been.
Even Elmira Pond is looking mushy, its white frosting is thinning. Unlike the sky, though, no water pools. Without open water, the pond is passed over as a resting spot while 20 miles south of here Lake Pend Oreille receives hoards of wintering ducks and mergansers. That bigger body of water yet has open pools as shore-ice builds up in piles. Despite the warm spell, the pond remains closed.
The longest day of the year is nearing and the sun still skirts the southern horizon, refusing to stand tall at full zenith. The clouds have a silver lining to the south and I ponder what that means, what is our silver lining? A reprieve from the harsh cold? A melting driveway instead of one buried in drifts? These are things I can be grateful for today.
It is warmer than it was, but I crave the fire as much as the dog, knowing winter has only begun.