Early February – Frosty Days

I’ve decided to add a new section to the blog. I’ve recently made the discovery that many people have no idea at all what goes on outside of their homes, day by day. They’ve never heard the Dawn Chorus, seen a Kildeer on her nest, or noticed the scent of blooming honeysuckle on the breeze. Let’s then, pay close attention to the world around us, and see what it has to say.

Pete and Lottie insisted on a walk, even though the mercury had dropped precipitously. From rain and temperatures in the low 40’s (F) a couple of weeks ago, to 10 inches of fresh snow and struggling into the double digits, even in the early afternoon. When it’s this cold, the snow is powdery, and disinclined to pack. This means it also tends to slide out from underneath my boots, making the footing a bit uncertain.

Quiet is Different in the Cold

One of the strange things about frigid temperatures is that sound actually travels farther. Today is quiet. Deep cracks and groans rumble up as the river freezes ever deeper – pushing on the ice that has already formed and against the trunks of trees along the banks. There is no birdsong, no chittering of squirrels. Not even the light snap of sparrows landing on frozen branches. Only the occasional faint “foomph” of snow falling off a tree bough into the powder below.

Is the local wildlife huddled up somewhere, trying to keep warm? Or do they know something the local meterologist does not? Certainly, to the west the bright blue sky is smudging with dark grey clouds out over the Lake. A shift in the wind makes the “foomph” noises more frequent. And even at 3 PM, the shadows are starting to lengthen on this short winter day.

Perhaps the course of prudence is to finish our walk and get back inside where we, like the squirrels, can huddle down in warmth and comfort.

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