There is a change in the air. Something different. Something you almost miss, but when you chance a look, there it is, and it makes you hopeful. Monday was like that. It snowed again and the cutoff awoke to a freshly laundered blanket of heavy snow. The whir of snowblowers filled the morning air and the scraping of shovels against pavement left no doubt of another winter’s storm.
The day was grey. Often, after a snow, there is a certain brightness that permeates, even when there is no sun, but, today – today was one of the greyest days I can remember. The snow hung heavy on the limbs of trees and the air was cumbersome. Throughout our yard and along the road, fallen branches, victims to the snow’s force, lay mute. I kept hearing the thunk, thunk, thunk of clumps of snow pelting me in staccato beats like bullies on the playground as they slid from the trees along the streets to my destinations.
One large lump of snow pulled me out of my stupor as it hit the moon roof of my car and I remembered noticing something the day before – that something different, change in the air type of thing, and so I headed up York Road to the Graue Mill, parked the car, grabbed my camera, and trudged along, the busy street and me, dancers in the snow.
On Sunday, driving past the mill at Fullersburg Woods, a quick glance was all I needed to see that the wooden boards had been removed from the windows. The mill is shuttered come winter, the doors secured, the enormous wheel silenced. A sign is posted to come in for the last of the season’s ground corn meal as boards go up over the windows. On Sunday, the windows were once again exposed and I was filled with hope as yet another sign of winter’s wane appeared. It will be still awhile before the Graue Mill opens, but, the simple sight of the window panes, catching the day’s reflections, is yet another clue that change is in the air.
I ventured across the busy mid-day street and down the partly shoveled path, past a few folks walking their dogs,
camera ready, clumps of snow now thumping an erratic beat upon my head, and tried to put some color into this bleak and heavy Monday.
Fullersburg Woods is a wonderful place for taking a walk with someone, stopping to hear the creek flowing, cross-country skiing, or visiting the mill and museum in warmer weather. Established in 1852, the mill played many rolls in the development of this part of Du Page County, the most notable one being as agent to the Underground Railroad.
I thought a bit, as I walked back to my car, of all the roles this old house and mill played in the settling of the area it presides over like a family matriarch – the provisions and cornmeal and safe haven to the oppressed – and now teacher of history and geography and science – and the day suddenly didn’t feel quite as grey and the snow, still pummeling my head, didn’t fall quite as heavily as I dodged the assault and headed for home, stopping a moment to check these tracks left in the snow and to appreciate the subtle changes taking place all around – even in the snow.
Anyone want to venture a guess at who was with me in the snow?
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