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  • Writer's picturecoffeeandwoodsmoke

after the snow

after the snow came the wind. after the wind came the rain. after the rain the whole world paused and was swallowed into mist.

* * *


The wind howls down the mountainsides under a starlight-pricked sky. Shrubs throw themselves against windows already shuddering from the gusts’ might, and I lay awake listening to the wind’s discordant song. How long it goes on is hard to say; time is hard to judge in the haze of mid-night.

Silence comes accompanied by a day fixed in perpetual twilight. We walk along in the dimness, peering through layers of grey as though through sleepy eyes half-lidded. And then, in relief, the clouds let go. Rain thrums on the roof and lulls us to sleep.

As the sun rises, so too does mist from hidden mountain folds. Undulating waveforms of grasses flattened by the weight of snowpack and released by the rain lay in brushstrokes of bleached wheat and goldenrod deepening to maize and umber. Forests of green pine dusted with powdered sugar snow rise with the mountains.

This landscape is bleak, stark.  It is honest. Its palette affords no distractions.


* * *

My life is in something of a state of flux. I have given myself permission to exist in this transition space, to occupy it without attaching myself to any particular outcome or eventuality, at least until the new year. Easier said than done. My thoughts wander here and there, projecting and imagining and leading down roads I almost certainly never will travel–my journey frequently deviates from the itinerary.

Sometimes I am okay with this uncertainty. I feel, on an almost cellular level, truly okay. Then, perhaps four and a half minutes later, I am a ball of emotions asking unanswerable questions of the heavens and my mind goes a-wandering down those “what if” roads. Soon, I am just tired and leave all those thoughts and plans and roads aside for the time being.

I get out on a real road.

I walk.

* * *

As I walk I notice that the rain has adorned every tree, bush, and standing stalk with tens, hundreds, thousands of drops of rain. Drops that remained even when the rain stopped falling. Peering closer, I see in each drop a microcosm, reflecting back to me the world in its entirety. Each the same; each slightly different depending on the angle. Each drop ephemeral; each to disappear with the day’s progressive warmth and light.


These same-yet-different, tangible yet impermanent worlds appearing in each drop—how very much like those thoughts, perspectives I’ve noticed within my own mind as I contemplate the future.


I walk and the mist rises, revealing a canvas of blue sky and a silver disc of sun. For now, I walk along the roads I know.  I try to remain present and hold open the space for tomorrow’s dreams to unfold.

* * *

Chocolate Crackle Cookies Makes 18 cookies

Chocolate always helps no matter the drop through which we peer. This recipe is adapted for high altitude (over 5000’). You can reverse engineer for sea level according to these instructions.

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate 3 T butter, melted 2 eggs 1 T water ¾ C all purpose (gluten free) flour (I used Cup4Cup brand) 1 ¼ C + 1 T powdered sugar (plus more for dusting) 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder ¾ t baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 370 degrees F.

  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just scrambled.

  4. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined; make a well in the middle.

  5. Add the eggs, melted chocolate and butter, and water to the well in the dry ingredients. Stir well.

  6. Let the batter/dough sit for 5 minutes so that the flour can fully absorb the chocolate. (This is hard to do when you really want the cookies to be done yesterday, but it makes the process of rolling and dusting so much easier!)

  1. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (it will still be slightly sticky), and then roll each ball in powdered sugar.

  1. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, until cooked through.

  2. Enjoy!

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