Monday, November 19, 2007

Winter Offers a Fleeting Preview

IF YOU RECKON THE beginning of winter from the first snowfall, and you live in New Jersey, then today you noted the change of seasons. I awoke to fat, wet flakes fluttering down gently. No accumulation, I noted as I exited to the car on the way to the gym; just a wet street and lawn.

By the time I was heading to work, however, the pace had picked up, and the snow was now slanting down at a sharp angle to the ground. Driving through it was like streaking through space at high warp, the flakes only lacking blueshift. The streets were still wet, not covered, but snow was beginning to cling to trees, parked cars, and grass.

As I approached my office, which entails an ascent of a hundred feet or so in elevation, I was confronted by a fairy-land spectacle of frosted trees. Red and yellow leaves, still in the full blaze of fall, appeared dusted with powdered sugar. The sky above my company's parking lot was a blank off-white, and judging by the full-throttle siege of flakes, the ground seemed in danger of finally yielding to the influx of snow and building up a white, wet layer. I regretted not having a digital camera sharp enough to capture the fine brushstrokes of snow along the trees bracketing the parking lot. I took one last long look, then entered to face the first workday of the week.

A camera would have been helpful. By 2 p.m., every trace of frozen water was gone. The trees had reasserted their colors, the grass had absorbed its drapery of particulate ice, and all that lay on the parking lot were a couple of puddles. The only way I would've convinced a new arrival to the area of the previous spectacle would've been either a photo or spirited debate.

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