They are caught off guard. This was not in the weather forecast, they say.
We have learned to expect nothing less than surprises.
The mountain provides.
The cows were hauled off the mountain to winter pasture yesterday; a load of hay for the horses back hauled, Bob arriving home in the dark under the clear crystalline infinite pattern of stars and the blur of the Milky Way spread out above us.
This morning, the snow has come. A good start to the winter, we say. It will fall from the trees in sprinkles as the wind blows later in the day, and slide from the roofs in heavy loads, and the pasture will clear and even the following mud will dry all before the arrival of the next storm.
But this one will leave its mark. Snow will remain in the north facing slopes, hidden under the thick groves of Blue Spruce. It will cleanse the mountain. It is her forewarning of the winter. She means business up here. She prepares for her impenetrable fortress of cold and ice and snow. A natural apprehension arises in humans, chasing them from the mountain for fear of being snowed in for the winter.
But the birds know better. I hear them out there now, the crows and the Stellar Jays already awake and enjoying the relative warmth that the cloud covered sky brings. They will wait this out. It will pass. They have their stashes and secret places and know this is but one more thing. In the meanwhile, they continue on. It is business as usual. Life on the mountain goes on in the deep, wet and warm October snow.