You are in luck if you like snow! Our supply gets replenished every few days and is not threatened with melting anytime soon. The glittering of the frozen crystals in the sunlight is very pleasing to me. The imprint of a blue jay’s wing in the surface of the fluff beneath the bird feeder is exquisite. The evergreens look particularly green against a background of bright white. I like to visualize the little four-legged critters foraging safely under the insulating comforter of snowflakes. I imagine that any sounds reaching them are muffled and that any daylight is a muted glow. I love to see the tiny footprints of the ones who venture out on top. The thousands of paw prints made by the puppies are a graphic testament to their boundless energy. Now the youngsters can see what we oldsters are referring to when we describe the winters that we used to have way back when. I recognize that these observations are made in the sunny warmth of my office and that all may not share my sentiments.

I offer my deepest sympathy to those who abhor snow. Some folks used to like snow. I know of at least one person who no longer feels that the beauty of snow outweighs the inconveniences caused by it. Sitting in his truck at the ferry with the heat on high, one of my neighbors told me of an adventure he had when checking on a thumping noise outside of his house one night at the height of one of our many blizzards. Due to the high drifts surrounding his house, the best route for his investigation seemed to be up and out through the cellar-way. Since it was to be a quick reconnaissance he thought that the house slippers already on his feet would be appropriate footwear. I’m sure you have guessed what befell him next. That’s right — the door blew closed in the wind, locked of course. All of the other doors had huge drifts in front of them, but no matter since they, too, were locked. My friend is very conscientious, which fortunately included a hide-a-key to the front door. However, that hidden key was located behind a chest-high pile of snow and the front door was hidden by its own Mt. Everest. So after nearly half an hour of scooping snow with his bare hands, our soaking wet, freezing cold hero regained the cozy haven of his home. He summed up his tale by flicking a bit of snow off of his rear view mirror, “I don’t like snow,” he said and then added, “next time, whatever is thumping can just keep on thumping.”

The Katama opening is now a mere trickle compared to its first days when the current at the ferry reached seven knots. Even the most cautious predictors are saying that it won’t be long now before Norton Point attaches to the rocky corner of Wasque. The freezing of the harbor may be attributed to the greatly reduced flow through the remains of the opening and may also contribute to its final closing.

So far the harbor ice has only been a slight hindrance to the operation of the Chappy ferry. Since the initial complete freeze over, the ferry has operated within a slot of open water created and maintained by the passage of the On Time II. We are using the shorter of the two ferryboats because its propeller is protected by a shroud and its rudder is braced by a skeg. Most of the ice is still spongy, but occasionally a particularly thick and menacing chunk of ice floats by. Waterfowl have begun to take advantage of the remaining open water as the ponds and even the outer harbor become ice covered. Surprisingly, these birds are managing to find fish. Their even bigger challenge is gulping their catch before the seagulls steal it.

I want to thank Sonia Ropke for her many years of faithfully delivering our mail. In her characteristic quiet manner Sonia has retired from public service. I always got a chuckle out of watching her Jeep drive onto the ferry when her daughter was with her. The vehicle was specially equipped for mail delivery, with the driver riding in the right-hand seat. Sonia’s passenger riding where most drivers sit, would be intently typing on an electronic device obviously not concerned with the operation of the vehicle. That, along with Sonia’s cheerful but always slightly surprised expression, gave the impression that the Jeep was navigating on its own. Thank you, Sonia.

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