I’ve been granted my wish for winter snow — albeit accompanied by temperatures of 10 to 12 degrees midweek. That was what the thermometer registered early Wednesday morning when I chose to walk. Even my adventurous, well-furred yellow cat declined to go outdoors as I set out, intelligently preferring the warmth of a bed to the frigid outdoors. On Tuesday, the day after the snow fell and temperatures were warmer, he had happily snuffled about in it. That day I had followed my usual route through the West Tisbury woods past Glimmerglass Pond. Trees and shrubs were all in bloom with giant snow flowers. There were deer tracks but no other signs of wildlife except the sound of bird song from the trees. But on Wednesday it was far too cold for even most birds to be singing. I heard only an occasional crow, no doubt cawing information about road kill to some friend or relation.
I altered my walking route on Wednesday to go down to Tisbury Great Pond from Up-Island Automotive. There were only two sets of prints in the snow — this time of man and dog — following the route I was taking. The road passes by summer houses and winds down to Hasty Runner’s dock that is pulled out in winter. The snow-covered boats that make use of the dock were all pulled long ago and lay about like mysterious giant sleeping animals. The Great Pond shimmered green. Often there are Canada geese or mallards and occasionally swans there when I visit, but on Wednesday the cold seemed to have sent them elsewhere, too.
I used to walk frequently around the Lagoon Pond in Vineyard Haven in winter and there was often ice there, but Wednesday’s frigid temperatures were not enough to turn the brackish pond water to ice. This has been such a topsy-turvy winter with 50-degree temperatures one day and deep freeze the next. I wonder if there will be pond ice for skaters this year.
I crunched my way back to the South Road, wishing by then that my mittens were warmer. At Up-Island Automotive, I exchanged greetings with an employee filling a car with gas and we agreed that it was not a morning to be on call for any kind of job outdoors. I arrived home ready for a breakfast of hot oatmeal. How pleasant it was to look out at a field of untrammeled snow behind my house gilded by the morning sun. I found myself hoping for many more snowfalls this winter, though perhaps without such a frigid accompaniment.