Slowly our great banks of snow are disappearing. I can make it up into the woodland easily now, where a few days ago it was difficult. However I can no longer spot the tracks of raccoons and coyotes because the snow there is thin now and dimpled by wet drops from the branches above. Much less snow fell through the branches to land here than elsewhere and the melting is much more advanced.
There are large patches of old leaves that I can walk on. They have emerged from under the snow and it is a treat to step on them and feel leaf texture instead of snow texture. Small fir branches lie around, courtesy of a high wind that blew through a couple of nights ago.
Ferns have emerged from the snow too, bowed and tattered-looking but green on a day when the woodland floor is anything but green. They huddle beside the tree trunks looking exhausted by the effort of keeping their fronds up off the ground.
But it is New Years Day. We are past the solstice! Better weather, greater signs of life are to come. But first, please, more snow melt.