What the Owls Know

by winteryder

  

There’s a special kind of stillness in frozen, sub-arctic air. The kind of stillness where the stars and planets hang so low you can nearly touch them. The pre-dawn sky is a velvety purple-blue backdrop that shimmers at the edges, near the frosted tree branches.
Just as the sky is waking up, boreal owls start to coo. Softly, almost like pigeons, they talk to each other across the little pond behind my house.

The morning train announces a road crossing with a whistle that echoes across the valley; the ground under my feet, under my snow shovel, rumbles as it passes. This moment, this single, soft, cold moment is a gift. I unwrap it with mitten-ed hands and finish shoveling out the driveway. Later on, there will be the first ski of the season and sunny trails covered in the same fresh powder.

It’s all a matter of perspective, really.