March has often seemed to be the month for surprise storms, the kind that come when you really want winter to be on the wane, but it’s not quite ready to let go. Today it started snowing early in the morning and kept up all day, at times falling thick and fast, leaving around 8″ more on the ground. I shoveled paths at mid-day and by 4pm there was as much snow on them again as I had taken away earlier. As well, my road wasn’t even plowed and mail wasn’t delivered. That brought to mind this accolade, attributed to the US Postal Service:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” ( I guess such dedication during snow storms isn’t as much in evidence these days.)

I was curious about this and discovered that it has an unexpected origin:

“While the Postal Service has no official motto, the popular belief that it does is a tribute to America’s postal workers. The words above, thought to be the motto, are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue and come from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus. During the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.), the Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers who served with great fidelity.”

There is a certain hush during a snow storm, when walking along a rural road with no traffic, and only the soft touch of snow flakes on a coat, muffled footsteps, and sometimes a surprising cascade of snow from the trees. That happened on my walk this afternoon, and for a few seconds I stood under a shower of white.

As much as I’m looking forward to spring and emerging bulbs and the return of song birds, today’s storm and the wonderland beauty it brought gave me a renewed appreciation for the monochromatic landscape under a blanket of fresh snow.