There is an inch of new powder settling on top of the foot of snow remaining from the last storm. The old snow has melted and refrozen over the last week, until its icy crust is hard enough to walk on if you step lightly. As ungainly as I am in Carhart coveralls and insulated boots, for a moment I felt like Legolas in the Fellowship of the Ring film, walking over the drifts without leaving tracks.
This evening I had one of Susan's cousins bring in a round bale for the barnyard to tide the ewes over through this next snowstorm. Getting food and water down to the barn in all this is turning each morning and evening into a struggle with the animals, the elements and my own aching body. I really have had about enough of winter. This morning as I opened the kitchen door and listened to the quiet hiss of new snow blowing over the frozen fields, I thought, "this is the sound the last straw makes, as it floats gently down on the camel's back." But, this too will pass. In a few days comes Meatfare Sunday, and the week after that begins the Great Fast of Orthodox Lent. Perhaps all this physical struggle will even do some good for the slothful soul and spirit in the weeks ahead as we begin the journey to Pascha.