It is, despite its common nature, an enduring mystery. How does the air thicken with snow that, finally, seems never to land?
I’m in the mountains, a long way from Henry Thoreau’s winter flatlands, and the temperature is an expressive 0, and the wind squeezes through this notch to offer some answer. These snowflakes, wrung by the hills enduring upthrust from a passing cold front, are whisper light and the coursing air chases them down and then up, spins them by me. Where it fronts a ridge, the wind goes up; so too the snow. This then isn’t snowfall, it’s snowhirl. And when I go in a few minutes to walk up for a few hours, it won’t be underfoot at all.
Still it flies; it furs over vision; it is everywhere alive. I feel like adamant stone, kin to these ridges beneath its passage.
And now for a walk along them, following the snow up.