Every time the landscape starts to get a little dirty—with stray needles, human footprints, particles of ice—another snowstorm comes along to cover up the distractions and create a new, clean palette.
It’s a dazzling white surface, ready for whatever comes along: animal footprints; the elongated shadows of the aspens and ponderosas, looming twice as tall; or the outline of my stretched-out body (bottom), as if I were reflected in a fun-house mirror.
Out of this encompassing white blanket emerge the tops of small pines and grasses, their shadows etched delicately in the snow. It’s a palette that changes continually as the sun arcs across the southern sky.
Hidden underneath some four feet of snow is a more chaotic and messy landscape: pine needles, bushes, pine cones, smashed plants, fallen tree branches and limbs (even the plastic pail and doormat that blew away during one of the windstorms last month). But on top is some illusion of perfection, unsullied, clean, sparkling. Everything is open and unobscured.