We’ve had a lot of snowy days this year, but no really big snowstorm. The most we’ve received from any individual snowstorm this season was six inches on February 20. However, since the beginning of March, we have received 1.5 inches on the first, 2.5 inches on the third, and one inch on the fourth. We are expecting another one-to-two inches on March 8. This winter has brought a number of small, but measurable snowfalls and a lot of cold, blustery weather to accompany them. Our total snowfall for the winter season stands at 23.5 inches, which is only 1.5 inches away from our 30-year seasonal average. It is the lack of any big ten-plus inch storms that is most perplexing. It seems that all areas around our little valley area have received at least one snowfall of twelve or more inches this year except us. That’s okay, though, as we’ve had more than enough precipitation over the past year to last us for a while.
Winters in our area are a quiet and reflective time. Oh, we have our weekend “flush” of tourists driving through our area to access the big ski area resorts, including Snowshoe, Canaan Valley, and Timberline from Washington, Baltimore, and Richmond. However, most days, the hustle and bustle of economic activity is minimized by the cold and snowy weather. That’s why I can really appreciate the small but frequent storms we’ve had. It creates such a picturesque winter scene across our landscape without making the roads so impassable or treacherous as to limit our essential travels. We have enjoyed periods of snow-draped trees, unbroken blankets of white across our fields, stark white ridgelines, and even the sparkle of sunlight across a mountain forest of bare trees with limbs coated in ice.
These are the visual pleasures of the winter season that add variety to our life at Peeper Pond Farm. I consider them to be candy for the eye. However, I also greatly appreciate the intense stillness and quiet I experience during a gentle snowfall from our front porch. Most times, as I stand on our porch, I can hear the constant sounds of the rural landscape around me. On any average day, we can hear dozens of varieties of bird song, the chirping of crickets, the lowing of cows, the neigh of a horse, the crowing of a rooster, or the whisper of a strong breeze sweeping down the faces of our mountain ridges. These are the typical natural sounds of quiet that can be quite deafening at times.
However, when a cold, winter snow settles in across our valley, all of these sounds simply disappear as the animals and wildlife hunker down and the breeze grows still. Only then do we experience the intense stillness of a storm that adds a sense of true peace and serenity to the scene. I appreciate these brief quiet times that allow you to focus on the natural beauty of the landscape that surrounds us. They gently wash away the stress and worry that so complicate our daily lives, as they provide a welcome sense of solace and relief in times of despair. In doing so, they refresh the soul and cleanse the mind. To me, that is the most pleasurable aspect of winter that I experience from the front porch of our home at Peeper Pond Farm. I hope you can take the time to experience it for yourself when a brief snowstorm stands in the way of your best-laid plans. We all need to enjoy the full measure of our lives—especially the quiet time when we can reflect on it all and put our lives into proper perspective. I know I find it as relaxing as it is peaceful.