At daybreak this morning the temperature is nine degrees Fahrenheit.
Fog – common most mornings from autumn through spring – drapes the pastures on the valley floor, hiding roads, homes, trees, fences, and cattle under a fluffy light gray blanket.
Some days I watch the fog creep slowly up the valley slope toward my house like a living, breathing being, expanding and devouring everything in its path before slowly returning to the valley bottom like a ghostly octopus retreating under its rock. This morning, though, it’s appetite is less voracious and the fog stays in the valley, disappearing quickly.
The rising sun breaks over the ridges to the east to illuminate the snow-covered slopes of the peaks to the west, giving them a warm pink glow just as the valley fog dissipates. That’s our cue to begin our morning.
The dogs are eager to go out and explore. I bundle up and load the dogs in the car for a walk in the valley just as the sun rises high enough to bathe it in a bright light that makes the snow sparkle and shimmer.
We don’t get far before I take my first photo. In fact, the car’s still in the garage. The sun poking through trees onto my driveway makes it shimmer with sparkling lights like tiny diamonds, catching my eye. I’m drawn to a set of fox prints, a stealthy visitor last night.
I drive a couple miles to our usual parking spot next to a pasture gate on the side of a country road. It’s Sunday, the last day of Thanksgiving weekend, and very quiet. We begin walking. Well, I walk. The boys are dashing through the snow-covered ditch, searching for voles among the grasses and weeds.
I quickly realize that the fog has left an amazing gift: frost. Thick frost.
All set against a brilliant blue sky.
I struggle to keep my hands warm as I take photos, so many photos.
After our walk, we make the weekly trip to the transfer station. On the way back home, I keep hitting the brakes, alarming the boys. So many beautiful scenes need capturing! There isn’t much snow on the ground yet, so the pristine white of the frost on trees beautifies the landscape, all the more striking against the sky’s deep blue background.