This morning the birds are singing up a storm. The sky is nearly clear and bright, with only a few high clouds across the blue vastness. Seven local Canada geese, long missing from the iced-in top of Rountop Mtn. honked overhead this morning, though couldn’t yet find a place on the ponds where they could land. Even the ice in my driveway is diminishing, though not fast enough for me.
Here atop the mountain the snow cover remains complete, if thinner than it was just two days ago. Snow cover is down to a few inches, perhaps several inches, but no longer is above my boots.
Down off the mountain, the story is a different one. The snow is largely gone from the valley, gone off the fields, gone from the yards, revealing the earth for the first time in months. The fields are almost golden in the early morning light, soon fading to a duller winter brown as the sun rises towards noon.
Down here snow remains in a few pockets, in the hidden spots, in a north-facing depression or under a brushy spot. The difference between the landscape I see down off the mountain and the one that surrounds my cabin is again a wide one.
Down in the valley, I hear people talking of spring, as though that was just around the corner, perhaps even already here. For them perhaps it is. Up where I am, my mountain life sounds foreign to them, as though the physical distance between here and there is far enough to require a passport with a visa stamp, as though I speak another language. For them perhaps I do.
I'm in the country of the cabin, where birds sing and geese honk, where snow stays long after it's gone elsewhere, where fields are the low country, where trees touch the sky.