I’ve been thinking about what’s underneath. Mid-February in Oswego generally means that everything is covered with snow or, in the case of the lake, submerged beneath ice. This year has been no exception, but we’ve had a grace period for the last few days that can’t be called a thaw, quite, but offered up enough sunshine to melt most of the snow off the roof. (Okay, there’s still about 8 inches of ice capped with another 8 or more of snow up there, but that’s better than the three to four feet we had.) The driveway’s reasonably passable, and there are patches of ice all over the yard, places where it’s easy to see what’s below. Mostly rocks and grass, but in spots the ice covers puddles, and the bubbles in the water, moving slowly, make patterns that catch the light. The yard’s boundaries are marked with rock walls, and those rocks retain enough heat that they melt through. Here and there plants have found their way up – shrubs shrug off the weight of snow, hydrangea branches, bare now, poke like asparagus up from the drifts. It’s almost like the snow is the earth’s winter skin, and I can wander about the yard seeing what’s hidden beneath that skin. Almost like peeling back to muscle, and then to bone, and then to the pulsing heart. The yard’s a casual mess, but when studied through the lens – I roam around with my camera when the sun’s out – it begins to appear composed, designed, almost neat. Maybe it’s just my tendency to impose order… I don’t know. The patterns in the branches settle me; the graceful sprawl of ivy, green as emeralds; the bubbles beneath the ice… I’m dreaming of spring, but already suspecting that I’ll mourn the loss of winter.