The Snow In Vischer Ferry

On Thursday of last week, a mighty snowstorm blew into town. In the early hours of the morning, with the creeping light a delicate blue, children all through the Capital Region rejoiced as they learned their schools would be closed for the day. Some kids got up and danced, some got up and turned on the cartoons, and some rolled over and went back to sleep. In their own ways, they were all happy. It reminded me of when I was a boy, waking to an alarm clock radio and listening as the morning announcer read through a list of schools alphabetically. One by one, inching his way down the list of schools that were delayed or closed, he would approach the starting letter of my school's name and I'd feel my pulse quicken. For a school that gained notoriety for rarely closing in the winters, I remember being downright ecstatic on those rare winter days when I'd hear its name on the cancellation list.

So last Thursday, the kids played and played and played. By Friday morning, most of the snow had been cleared from the roads and it was back to school for them and business as usual for everyone else. But then, something magical happened. Another storm! This time, a two-day affair predicted to start on Sunday morning and promising to last well into Monday. A snow day on Monday is almost too good to be true, but sure enough, it snowed nonstop today across the region, putting another dozen-or-so inches on the ground. And now, just before bed on this quiet Sunday evening, school delays and cancellations for tomorrow have already begun to be announced. What better way to end a weekend?

Meanwhile, snow has blanketed one of my favorite nearby natural areas, the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve. In the summer months, most of my early morning running routes pass through the preserve and incorporate sections of the trails that follow the Erie Canal. There, the wild flowers grow and the most beautiful birds take residence and fill the atmosphere with their songs. But now, in the deep winter and under the cover of snow, it is serene. The canal and surrounding waterways are frozen, and the trails unfurl like long white ribbons under a canopy of twisted, barren branches. It is eerily quiet. Walking through the preserve after a fresh snowfall, one might hear the occasional bird high up in a tree, or the sound of the wind tickling the branches, but mostly, the only sounds are those of the softly crunching snow underfoot. That, and on those lucky snow days that close the schools, the sounds of children far off in the distance playing in the freshly fallen snow.