We wake up to a changed world. Then we go outside and walk in it.
Here's the old Christmas tree, lying at the curb, redecorated in white.
Here's a set of fresh animal tracks, a pair of little feet side by side, something with a hop instead of a stride.
Here's the neighbor's toddler, bundled up and waddling down the driveway. You wonder if she'll remember.
Here's the old snow shovel, up from the basement, brought out of retirement.
Here's a woman in her yard, measuring with a T-square. "It says 2 (inches)," she says, "but I think it's wrong. I think it must be 12."
Here's a giant magnolia, wide green leaves cupping the snow like a handful of sugar.
Here's a single woodpecker, thock-thocking at a tree, echoing in the soft silence.
Here's a streetlight, lit up, confused.
Here's the dog, having the best day ever, prancing down the street, plowing his nose into the drifts, panting and pulling and chasing down every stray scent with jets of steam coming from his mouth.
Here's our boots, every step scrunching in the powder, and all of a sudden here's a memory of flip-flops in the white Gulf sand down at Panama City Beach.
Here's a flock of birds, holed up in a tree, sending out sentries to bring back a weather report.
Here's a woman on a bike, eyes lit like stars, wishing us good morning and leaving a wobbly track down the sidewalk.
Here's the snow itself, the drifts flat as a tabletop on unbroken front lawns, the clumps plunging from branches like cliff divers, the flakes brushing your jacket with a soft psssh like a lover's lips.
Here's gray slush going down the storm drain, a reminder that all things must pass.
And here's a statue in a front yard, a concrete goddess holding up one of those shiny gazing balls, glowing blue and gold. The gazing ball is covered with snow, and so is the fence, and so are the roofs of the houses and the tops of the trees and everything we can see.
Here's an amazing day, a world changed overnight, a moment that whispers: Look at this.
Photo by Alix Felsing