office where I work is moving to a new location this
year in order to save money. My fellow workers are
anxious about the move. Some of them have made drives
over to the new place in order to figure out the best
routes, but I haven't. My understanding is that the
trip will add another ten minutes to my commute.
There will be plenty of time to explore the best
route when the move has finally taken place. I will
be driving over that roadway for months, probably
years to come, and see no need to start now.
A few have visited the new location. They have hung
photographs of the interior we will eventually
inhabit, but I've had little interest in studying
them. It is enough that I will eventually find myself
in that building for months, probably years to come.
In time I will see enough of that interior and do not
need to get an early start.
I will miss my present desk by the large window that
looks across U. S. Route One to the Princeton
Nursery. From that desk I have watched deer foraging.
In recent days the fallowed nursery is regularly
filled with several hundred Canadian geese. I get to
see the geese come drifting out of the sky with a
grace they quickly lose once on the ground.
The other day I was commuting to work, listening to
the news on the radio, and they interspersed the news
every few minutes announcing the region could expect
snow. It was only to be a dusting and was expected to
later turn to rain. In any case, it was not expected
to cause any hindrance to traffic. I was hoping for
Not far from where I live is Styer Orchards. The
Styer family no longer owns it. A couple of years ago
they sold the property, but the Middletown Township
had the excellent sense to buy it and preserve the
107 acres as a working farm, now managed by a
township committee. On an afternoon I had been
driving past a section of the orchard when I was
smitten with the view. The stark and contorted apple
trees formed rows up an inclined field with patches
of snow and at the far end stood an old farmhouse. It
was only a glimpse, but I thought it could make for
an excellent photograph, particularly from the rise
of the railroad tracks that occupied the foreground.
It would mean coming back on another day with my
camera and wearing boots, to push through the
brambles on this side of the tracks, climb up and
then cross the tracks, and situate myself looking
down into the scene on the other side. I have driven
by a number of times, but never again was there just
the right amount of snow or the correct angle of sun
to produce shadows of the proper length.
For the next couple of years, with every snowfall I
hoped the scene might be recreated. The exactness of
the vision required the snow to be partially melted,
the trees leafless, and the sun, having begun its
descent, not blocked by clouds. Even if all these
conditions are met, there is still the matter of my
just happening to have that day off from work. So on
that aforementioned morning I was driving into work,
I was hoping the weatherman would be wrong, that we
would receive more than the promised dusting.
This last snow began as I pulled into the company's
parking lot. It was falling gently all around.
Climbing out of my car, I stood alongside of it,
taking the time to finish drinking the coffee I had
bought en route. Falling snow filled the whole of
what I could see, a million flakes delicately
tumbling into the parking lot, vanishing on the
asphalt. It was better than drinking the coffee at my
Once inside, I watched the snow through the office
window. My fellow workers regarded the snow only in
terms of how it would affect road conditions, how
difficult it would make their drive. Since the
experts declared this snow would not impact their
commute, it met with a general indifference. But I
was inclined to remain hypnotized by the view in my
Why does the weatherman not report that a snowy day
will be beautiful, that one will step outside and be
charmed by the scene? They only report that the
roadways will not be significantly affected so people
will race home or to the mall. They don't announce
that the snow will delicately come to rest on your
skin, a cool spark that will instantly melt from the
heat of your body, unless it gets caught in your
eyelashes. They won't say that the snow will tickle
the tip of your nose, will be only a hint of taste on
your tongue. It will not be reported that the snow
will grow doilies on the branches of evergreens and
the backs of geese. They don't bother to encourage us
to leave work and take a stroll in the park while it
is yet snowing.