Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First Snow

The first snow of 2008 wasn’t deep—two or three inches— but it was pretty. Roanoke—to the northwest—had gotten a dusting of snow earlier in the week, but this is our official first snow of the year.

Here’s the view from my study window on Thursday morning.

Later the snow stopped, and freezing rain started. The trees and bushes iced over.

By late afternoon, the precipitation stopped, and I scattered seed for the birds.

This provided entertainment for the cats, who really didn't want to go out.

On Friday, the sun will come out and make the world sparkle. When sun shines on snow, I always think of Robert Frost’s “ten million silver lizards out of snow.”

Here’s the poem:

A Hillside Thaw
by Robert Frost

To think to know the country and now know
The hillside on the day the sun lets go
Ten million silver lizards out of snow!
As often as I’ve seen it done before
I can’t pretend to tell the way it’s done.
It looks as if some magic of the sun
Lifted the rug that bred them on the floor
And the light breaking on them made them run.
But if I though to stop the wet stampede,
And caught one silver lizard by the tail,
And put my foot on one without avail,
And threw myself wet-elbowed and wet-kneed
In front of twenty others’ wriggling speed,—
In the confusion of them all aglitter,
And birds that joined in the excited fun
By doubling and redoubling song and twitter,
I have no doubt I’d end by holding none.

It takes the moon for this. The sun’s a wizard
By all I tell; but so’s the moon a witch.
From the high west she makes a gentle cast
And suddenly, without a jerk or twitch,
She has her speel on every single lizard.
I fancied when I looked at six o’clock
The swarm still ran and scuttled just as fast.
The moon was waiting for her chill effect.
I looked at nine: the swarm was turned to rock
In every lifelike posture of the swarm,
Transfixed on mountain slopes almost erect.
Across each other and side by side they lay.
The spell that so could hold them as they were
Was wrought through trees without a breath of storm
To make a leaf, if there had been one, stir.
One lizard at the end of every ray.
The thought of my attempting such a stray!

Over on her Blue Country Magic blog, Anita F. has posted pictures of the snow in Fincastle (two counties west of here)—and another Robert Frost poem.


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