Thursday, February 2, 2017 8:47 AM
White is a color without hue. It is the color of clouds, of snow, and sometimes the sky, and today, from first light to last, was a completely white day.
When we woke up this morning, a light snow was falling, and it continued to fall well past evening. Curiously, though, the snow did not gather on the ground. Its presence was certainly visible, but it looked more like a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar spread out across the fields.
I have learned that snow is white because it is made up of multiple tiny ice crystals that do not absorb, but rather reflect the world’s colors equally, and when combined, the reflected light wavelengths create the color white.
As I looked out across our fields, I imagined them covered with miniature mirrors that were reflecting the creek valley world around them. I imagined the brown mud, the green of the cyprus trees and the gray creek rocks all joining together in my mind’s eye.
I have learned that clouds appear white because they are made up of individual droplets of water that also reflect, rather than absorb, all of the colors of the world below them.
When I looked up at the sky today, it looked like a soft, low-lying blanket that covered not only the creek valley, but the fields at the top of the hill and the world beyond, and then it occurred to me that it was not so much of a cover as a white reflection of the world below.
Now, my homing pigeons are also white. I did the morning chores under the white sky with white snowflakes gathering on my jacket shoulders. I wondered how my birds would look flying in their formation across the backdrop of the white-blanketed sky, but they did not seem in any rush to head off. I returned to the warmth of the cabin.
As the day progressed, the snow continued to fall, and the sky stayed beautifully white, but I did not see my birds fly. Perhaps they were taking it easy, or perhaps I had missed their flights, but then in the late afternoon, as I was carrying some scrap lumber from the new house down to the burn pile, I heard a familiar whooshing from behind.
I turned, and yes, there were perhaps a dozen of my birds flying low, the beat of their wings echoing with the well-known whistle. They circled the windmill tower in ever-widening arcs and then broke out into their signature figure eight pattern, passing far down the creek valley and almost over the ridge, but never out of my sight.
I have always marveled at their pure white beauty as they fly against the backdrop of a bright blue sky, but today I stood in awe of the subtle image of their monochrome flight. Simplicity can be breathtaking, but really, today’s white creek valley world was not monochrome in the least. It was really the purest reflection of everything.
Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.