“Stop a sec, hon,” I say.
We stop and look up. The clouds are deceptively still; as we walk back to our house later I will notice how quickly they are in fact moving. A long, large cloud will move over us in a matter of seconds, drowning out the brilliant light surrounding us, then just as quickly move away.
In the distance are the hills of the Sutton Range, the snow clearly visible through the trees. But the stillness in the air is tangible, in one of those great instants that defines a truly memorable moment.
I notice farm machinery sitting among the snow drifts; I turn to look at the low hills on the near side of the road where we used to see the small herd of cattle grazing in the summer. All around is tranquility and calm. A warm wind blows in my face as I take off my winter coat. Sometimes a breeze will come and the air will change too, reflecting the coolness of melting snow.
Even the two dogs at the farm look at us steadily, not moving a muscle; I’d like to think that they, too, have been affected by the serenity on rue Burnett.
The CBC’s weatherman, Frank Cavallaro, had mentioned in last night’s weather report that records might be broken today, and when I get home the app on my IPad says that it’s 12 degrees Celsius outside, not bad for February 23rd.
Winter doesn’t just go away in the country as it does in the city. Here the snow is dimpled; it hollows out from the inside. As we approach our house, the rivulets in the road become more pronounced; I have been telling everyone that in our little ‘nook by the brook’ we get more snow than anyone around. The drifts on the lawns of the houses are higher; around our house they seem quite high, due to all the snow blowing I have done this winter. The brook by our house is louder now as well; the snow no longer covers the rushing water muffling out sound; soon the roar of water from all the melting snows in the hills above us by the American border will fill our house.
But now the din, though increasing, doesn’t dominate. There are lovely sculpted snowdrifts by the bank and you can see the rushing water bubbling through them. “This water ends up in the Atlantic Ocean,” I tell Naomi, explaining how Lake Champlain into which the Mississquoi River flows (our brook feeds this river) has its outlet in the Richelieu River which flows into the Saint Lawrence River and eventually the ocean far away. This thought is rather awesome. “We’re all connected,” Naomi says upon reflection.
It is a good day to feel connected. It is a perfect moment, really; the saints say that every moment in the eternal present is perfect. For us less-than-enlightened ordinary folk we’ll take strolls like this any time down a country road, in the thaw, in late February.