The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

First Snow

Friday, November 26th, 2004 in Illinois
First Snow

First last night: it snowed. Thick heavy snow, the kind that muffles sounds and makes you feel cozy and warm inside despite dropping temperatures and frosty crystals floating outside in downward spirals and mad swarms. I had no food in the house so I ordered a pizza. I was sure to tip the delivery guy well since he had to drive in the mucky horrible mess of traffic that lined the roads.

Then this morning: Thanksgiving. Woke up to a jewel of a morning with white icing lawns and sugary branches that drooped low, kissing the ground, occasionally dropping their load of heavy wet snow. Kerflumph. Went for a walk with a friend. As I returned, lungs electric with icy fresh air, I glanced at my wildflowers in my front garden, I should have cut them back weeks ago—if only I were an attentive gardener. Instead they dazzle me now, having caught layers of snowflakes on their dwindling petals. They have new life, they are now fine, white silk strands, sculpted meticulously into a stiff, intricate brocade.

Late afternoon: Had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. Ate quite a lot and am astonished that already I feel hungry again. Good thing the food is all at my parents and I can’t just go to the kitchen and graze all evening.

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Assortment

Canyonlands
Canyonlands
Island in the Sky—a vast slab of rust-tinted sandstone 1,000 feet higher than the surrounding landscape—is not the ideal place to find yourself during a lightning storm.
Haleakala in the Fog
Haleakala in the Fog
On the last day of our visit, we check out of the Ritz Carlton and ask to rent a car. Our flight is late in the evening and we hope to sightsee during the day. But the car rental desk at the Ritz refuses to rent us one of the many dozens of vehicles in their lot because we have just checked out.
Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve
Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve
Each New Year’s Eve, I try to make a point of going for a long walk. It’s become a wonderful annual meditation ritual for me—a great way to wind down and reflect before the bustle of the New Year sets in and sweeps me away.