R'ykandar Korra'ti
Written after the December 1996 snowstorm, in Seattle, Washington, USA

     It's Friday morning, though barely at this point. It snowed another, oh, probably four inches or so last night; there's a little over seven out front, and I think I measured three yesterday afternoon. And there might be more this weekend, depending upon how another storm currently sitting off the coast moves.

     I've just gotten back from walking around in it for a couple of hours; I've taken, I think, 125 photographs and could easily take 200 more without getting repetitive. I only hope that some percentage of them will capture some hint of what I really see. It's hard to describe how remarkable the snow is; it's powdery and soft without blowing dustily everywhere, and thanks to the freezing rain yesterday afternoon, only last night's new fall covered tree branches and bush leaves. They're bent, but not breaking, under the new weight.

     There are almost no cars. There are no busses at all, save a lone, stranded 74 on Ravenna Boulevard. It's as quiet as I've ever heard it be here - the most noise I heard outside came from the caws of confused and upset crows and ravens, and the swooshing sound of cross-country skis in Ravenna Park, made as a few well-prepared-to-ski-whereever-and-whenever folks take advantage of their rare chance. (I wonder how many four- or five- or six-year-olds will remember this as their first winter, and be upset when it doesn't happen every year, wondering what went wrong.)

     It's lovely everywhere, even now, after people have started digging out. (I just heard a car slowly go by out front - it was too good to last, I suppose.) Ravenna is beyond that, though; normally, it's a restoring place to wander - a little wedge of forest and tall tree sliced into the hill our house is on, too steep to be buildable, a favour of geography for which I am wholeheartedly grateful - but with the snow... with the snow, it's an entirely other country. Large enough as it is, the cold white - and I think the quiet and I'm sure the abandonment as most people stay bundled up indoors - let it unfold from a ravene, into a valley; scale is lost, and looking down from the bridge to the stream you see a river, and you are removed to another state, where you can't but stand, washing yourself in the winter of it all - in the warm snow, in the new air, in the quiet, still, unrelenting beauty and joy of what it has been made.

     And I can't even describe any of this properly, not in words. I will try later, in pencil and pen, and with photographs - at least as reference and reminder. But I can know and feel it, and remember that whatever else I might be, I am a winter forest creature, and that when it snows and I am there, that is when I really, truly feel I am home.