I have the urge to collect the sparkling crystals in a clear container. However, I know from having collected butterflies, bees, frogs, and dandelions in jars as a child, I cannot capture nature for a later time, it has to be revered in the moment. A moment like now; a morning when diamond crystals hang from every branch, every stem. Every individual needle and twig sparkling in the late morning sun against the perfect winter sky painted solid blue.

Ice formed on the lake overnight for the first time this season. Not all across but for several hundred feet out from shore, white solid stillness, with ripples of dark water beyond. The last of the geese float by silently.  All the birds and animals are silent. No chickadee calls, no blue jay squawks, even the squirrel is without chatter. All that can be heard from them is the cracking of the sunflower seeds that have been left for them to enjoy, followed by the sound of the shell dropping softly onto the glistening frosty snow below.

A trail of tracks goes across the snow covered grass to the bird feeder. Deer tracks. The same tracks go to beneath the Mountain Ash tree. Yesterday a flock of over a hundred cedar waxwings descended in the afternoon, a flutter of activity enveloped the tree as they attempted but were unsuccessful in eating all of the berries. A bumper crop this year, allowed for some to remain for some other creature to feast upon. The lower limbs of the tree are naked now. All the bright scarlet ornaments are gone, devoured by the two deer that came before I woke.

I think of clichés. How lucky I am to live here, how blessed. I take a deep breath. Let the cold air fill me; let my body make it warm to flow back out. I am calm. I am quiet. I am home.002