Worth a Thousand Words: February Snow #1

PhotoPhilia: the Love of Light. February Snow on Goose Creek

I took a half hour yesterday early morning for myself–meaning I left the pup at home–and carried my cameras (Nikon D200 and the iPhone) with me to watch the sun lift over the ridges and let the one chicken out in her pen.

There is something special about the first morning after a good snowfall. The silence is remarkably different, deeper, softer even than our usual quiet mornings. The comings and goings of every creature is recorded: titmice foraging under the tarp over the chicken pen for stray seeds; field mice dancing dizzily over the surface of a soft snow leaving their tiny paw prints, runiform in the surface; and deep-pressed deer hooves along paths that make one think they know where they want to go and find the straightest path to get there.

But it is the light that marks the chief difference on a snowy morning, with blinding radiance from the very land itself, as if light were coming out of the soil.

In this image, the golden light of sunrise illuminates the snow-covered pines, while the creek bed and roadway are still in more somber shadows. You can see our high-tech foot bridge we put down for visitors; we always have on our rubber boots so don’t really need the board, since the water is rarely higher than the tops of our boots. Click for larger image.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I put my comment about this photo in my yesterday’s comment. I’m glad you had a powdery snow around Goose Creek. The snow news from Virginia is a big item here in LA.