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Remember: Solstice: Second Snowfall (A new look)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice: Second Snowfall (A new look)

Winter is arriving on a self made white carpet today, the solstice is upon us. Today is the darkest day of the calendar year; with the sun keeping nearest to the horizon throughout the day. Naturally, it is also the day that signals the end of the growing darkness of winter and the beginning of the slow expansion of daylight that culminates in mid June with the longest day of the year.

Yesterday morning there was no want of light anywhere I stepped across the city of Allentown. Although we were spared the horrendous two feet our southern neighbors were buried under, a six inch snowfall is no slouch. Happily, the sun had managed to poke its energetic self from the clouds early Sunday morning to help clear the roads otherwise I surely would not have found myself stomping around the snowfields of parks that had been left by the nor’easter.

The psychology of snow is well documented whenever a flake is seen or a weatherman announces the possibility of an impending storm. People react to a coming snowfall, regardless of predictions, as if a hurricane was making landfall on the Lehigh. In the wake of the storm, we are left buried to whatever measured degree, we are left "in", and we fall under a white sameness with silence as its greatest manifestation.

At Muhlenberg Lake, the snow appeared for the most part untouched, save the tracks of skiers and occasional footprints. The cold blue of the sky mingled across the face of the water until the two were all but indistinguishable from one another save the snow to tell them apart.

The brown stalks jutting from the accumulation and the yellow willow limbs seemed the greatest contrast of all; forming an earthen frame around the ethereal white and blue new portrait of winter. A cold wind that felt as if it curled from the edges of cirrus clouds and unfurled itself shockingly across the park was the herald of winter’s fledgling dominance. Above all, the scene at the Lake was quiet, serene, soothing… as if a great breath was drawn deeply into the chest and time allowed itself to slow for a moment.

Down in Fountain Park, I stopped on a bridge to view the creek. Here, Center City looked starkly clean, as if the snow scoured the dirt of 2009 from the surfaces of the buildings and allowed them to shine again, for the first time. In the distance, the Eighth Street Bridge loomed large over the park as it always does but asserting a greater aesthetic severity with nothing but bared branches and white fields to contrast with it.

I drove up, parked and walked across the bridge for the first time to take a new look at Fountain Park as it showed off its winter coat. The view from the bridge was incredible.

The Little Lehigh almost appears with the same blackness as Martin Luther King Boulevard, as if even a natural aspect of the environment was a foreigner in this new land of snow.

In Trout Creek Parkway, I experienced the greatest absence of the day. The Knotweed was almost invisible in the winter wonderland. Without the thick Knotweed dominating the landscape, Trout Creek Parkway was an entirely new place to stumble around in.

Here though, the persistence of life was present in the nearby feeder stream. Echoing the brown contrast at Muhlenberg Lake, here the contrast turned to green. Green enough that it would seem these plants were blissfully ignoring the fact that winter had arrived six inches deep all around them.

I had spent so much time in these places this past summer that to walk around them this morning, in these conditions, was like walking in them for the first time. It was not just an observable change in appearance but an entirely new distinction of personality. These places are new again and will in all likelihood look this way for awhile. That is until the equinox and the arrival of Spring. Then, just like this snowy Sunday morning, I imagine I will find myself in these places for the first time.

See Also:
First Snow: Lehigh Parkway

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Blogger michael molovinsky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 21, 2009 at 2:28 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, nice post and excursion.

now, pardon me, i must add; you did seem to get around from a west end, center city and south side parks despite us not having an interconnecting trail network.

December 21, 2009 at 6:01 AM  
Anonymous I heart our parks said...

Andrew, Lovely photos and posting. Did you use some kind of effect? Would you ever consider exhibiting your park photos or making a calendar to sell locally?
Nice work.

December 21, 2009 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was really nice! My girls and I played in the park yesterday and you captured much of what I felt. Nice to know I am not the only one who appriciates this stuff.

Mike, Why do you ALWAYS have to be negative? Grinch.

December 21, 2009 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...


No effect, my camera kind of sucks truthfully and the pics are a bit washed out. I was really frustrated by it actually, ha.

I have never considered exhibiting my photos or anything like that.

December 21, 2009 at 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous--

Mike wasn't being negative, he was just making a simple, logical point
concerning the trail network.

December 22, 2009 at 6:33 PM  

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