The trees behind our house showed no signs of life this morning, after the first snow of the season finally fell here in southwest Illinois and over there across the Mississippi River in the Gateway City. Our trees' branches were covered with snow but were without the usual morning signs of life – sparrows, wrens, nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals and eastern gray squirrels. Not a creature was stirring, not a one in sight. The scene was almost eerie. Yet, there was inspiring beauty in this morning's wintertime frostiness, quiet stillness, and the fresh-fallen whiteness. I threw on a thermal undershirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt and a heavy hoodie – along with sweatpants, gloves and hiking boots – and I was off for a trek in the snow. Surprisingly, I slipped and fell not once. It was a fine walk in a wintry wonderland.
T.E. Griggs is a writer, editor and photographer and a retired U.S. Marine.