Sunday, October 11, 2009

Early Snow

First snowstorm of the season ... I left Laramie this morning to drive up to Big Horn where I'd been invited to give a presentation about Pronghorn Passage to three high school science classes. I zipped out of town on wet highways with patches of ice. The farther north I drove toward the Shirley Basin, the more snow-packed the road surface became. Herds of antelope were bunched up along the highway, their tan and white markings blending into the gold grass and white snow on the ground. By the time I reached the little town of Rock River, the light was entirely flat, the surface of the highway entirely white, and the air filled with feathery snowflakes. Because I still had over 250 miles ahead of me and the weather was only getting worse, I decided to cancel the trip and head home.

The sudden turn of seasons that comes with the first snowstorm of the year bends time. Overnight the brisk sharpness of autumn has transformed into a deep winter blizzard. The antelope mark this change in weather by moving from their summer grounds to new territory, as if the year for them is laid out not in months or days, but in passage from foothills to basins.

Joe is already setting his cameras up north in the corridor of the Teton herd, and I'll be heading up there in a couple of weeks to join him. That is, if the weather breaks enough to let me make the drive.


marjie said...

WOW, I can't believe it is this time again! Good luck and watch for the cougars!

Alyssa said...

No snow here, but I can almost feel the Wyoming winter through your words. I miss you all!

Michelle Nowak said...

Ah, thank you Emilene, you write so beautifully! A trip to Wyoming might be in the works for me. It would be great to see you.