It started with a modest dusting on Wednesday night, just enough to frost the grape hyacinth emerging from my garden beds. As Thursday advanced, a cold blustery wind swept in, and dark clouds gradually enveloped the mountaintops, promising the kind of spring squalls we expect in April. But what transpired was remarkable even by our standards.
The snow started as sleety, stinging pellets, but by evening had transformed into feathery flakes. From a distance, they looked like this:
Here they are up close; I’ve used an editing filter that makes the flakes appear dark, to better accentuate their size. I spent many winters in Minnesota and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — lands of colossal snow — but I don’t recall ever seeing such giant individual flakes, big as silver dollars:
In one of those curious about-faces that make mountain weather so interesting, the mercury rose during the night, and we awoke this morning to snowy rain, dazzling flashes of lightning and thunder splitting the dripping air:
Granted, the climate carnival was hard on the wild things, whose burgeoning natural food sources were suddenly hidden beneath a heavy blanket of rain-topped snow. The squirrels came to the feeders, but they were pouting.
But the sun was back and the meltoff well underway by mid-morning, and the whole experience was glorious for those of us with ready shelter and a pantry full of food.
There’s an old joke: Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.
Thank God, I think. Thank God there is still something so wildly variable and so utterly beyond our manmade ability to standardize, domesticate and bend to our comfort and convenience.