This morning, a light shower of snow brings beauty to the Gastineau Meadows. Like chalk in the hand of a charcoal sketch artist, the snow emphasizes the muscular curves of gnarled pine branches by settling into sharp white lines on the limb tops. We are the first man/dog pair to walk over the new snow. Aki dashes over the straight line made by a squirrel crossing the trail. The little poodle mix stops to sniff at some strange marks that could have been made by the stretching of a huge languorous house cat. I imagine a lynx, butt in the air, thrusting out its front paws and dragging them toward him through ice, snow, and frozen mud. Had to be a big cat. No canine could cut these deep little grooves down through snow and ice. This happened before the snow stopped, maybe while I drank morning coffee and read a chapter from Jo Ann Beard’s Boys of My Youth. It was her coyote story—the braided one where she writes like she is inside the animal’s head. I briefly fancy myself moving her story from desert to this snowy meadow before being distracted by the sky. The climbing winter sun shatters the monolith of gray that had hung over town for days. We don’t see direct sunshine but I settle for the pales pinks, yellows and whites that infuse the cloud crown settling above Mt. Juneau. This opal in the sky parts to reveal an irregular circle of blue. It’s a gift I can only share in words. My camera can’t capture its subtle beauty.