They say that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. The science behind their difference has to do with the fact that as snowflakes tumble through the air, they fall through different temperature and moisture levels, and that because each snow flake takes its own unique path to the ground, each is shaped in its own unique way.
But snow seems like a distant memory to me now, erased by wisps of warm fog on this eve of the new year. This morning the fog hung low over the creek valley. It looked as though it was trying to reach up over the pole barn to the cabin, but could not quite make it. I watched as we did our morning chores, and saw it linger in the lower fields until it faded away. I imagined that it was distressed that I had ignored it.
And the rain has been incessant. If only it was colder! It was 66 degrees this morning and when I opened the front door, I felt as though a warm tropical storm was going to blow me away. By the time we had finished our chores, a heavy rain had begun to beat down on the metal roofs of our farm. The barns, cabin, out buildings, and chicken coop, all reverberated with their own rain beat pitch, but none of them were to be outdone by the creek itself.
The water has been running so fast, and the creek has been so swollen, that I often wonder if I will be able to make it up to town to run a my errands. I find it curious that the brown current runs gently through the creek’s back waters, and laps easily close to the edges of the road, but farther out into the water it runs fast and dangerously furious. Four foot tall swells have sprung up where I stood and tossed rocks with the grandchildren just a short while ago.
I stood safe on the shore today, and watched as whole trees rocketed past our farm and headed towards the river three miles south. I imagined that they should have caught and jammed in the bends, for our creek is anything but straight, but as I watched, they cruised right on past the old barn, staying in the deep water and heading off into the world beyond.
Water is absolutely everywhere. It has washed the leaves down the hillsides, out of the woods, and across the upper field. It lies caught between the blades of grass. Droplets sparkle on the windows like small gems.
And the mud is unimaginable. It coats my car so thickly that it is impossible to get in or out without acquiring a few streaks to adorn my clothes. Granted, the rain does tend to wash my car off, and I do try to rinse off the undercarriage by driving through puddles, but no sooner do my wheels start to look rather passable, than the rain lets up for just a moment, and the mud once again prevails.
The rain has also washed off the dogs. Their fur feels wonderfully soft and sleek, but I have never been successful at teaching them to wipe off their feet by the front door, and I find myself mopping the floor, or sweeping up clouds of dried mud dust, countless times a day.
So this strangely warm end of the year has been quite unlike any I have known before, but then again, from what I can tell, no two years have ever been exactly like. Each new year is always shaped in its own unique way. It looks as though I shall just have to step back and see what is particularly unique about this very particular new year, but I certainly imagine it starting off to an exceptionally fresh start, washed clean by the rain that has just started to fall again over the creek valley.