In the course of my studies of one thing or another, I recall reading that early man invented the concept of gods to give a face to the forces of nature they feared and against which they had no defense. In the course of this recent abomination also know as winter, I’ve come to the conclusion that the people of today – yours truly included, have turned this around. As each of the snowstorms lined up from here to Oshkoshimowobegonissippi descended upon us, we looked up to the heavens and moaned. “Why me? Why me?” And we took it as an affront each time the warm temperatures predicted and promised by the technologically dependent weather priests of TV somehow froze over with not a word of explanation or apology. “But you said,” we cried, as sub-zero wind chill numbers filled the screen “But you said.”
I personally have developed my own spring ritual. It’s called my parking lot prayer, and last time I checked it’s kept me sane – well, realtively sane. If you recall, last summer I reported how in the course of my Saturday errands I always make it a point to explore the classic car show assembled in front of the McDonald’s in the shopping center . Well, ever since this spring should have arrived, I glance over and picture the proud owners lounging in their beach chairs, the summer breeze warm and gentle replacing the biting wind blowing in my face, and as I get back into my car I whisper “This is one last Saturday to freeze through.” But you know what? Each Saturday brings more snow – even last Saturday – Palm Sunday.
My last errand takes me to the supermarket and another parking lot. Last Saturday I was running a little late and it was dark as I emerged from the store. As I wheeled my groceries through the swirling snow, my mind conjured up Christmas lights and Salvation Army kettles. But then a glance back at the store snapped me back to reality. On the other side of the sheer curtain of snow, potted tulips and daffodils huddled and shivered against the supermarket wall and I heard them cry in unison, “Why me, Why me?”
As for me? I raised my eyes toward the heavens and shook my head. “This is not right,” I declared, “It’s just not right.”
Hope Springs Eternal? Or is it Spring Hope is Eternal. No, no, I’ve got it! We all hope spring is going to arrive, if not eternally, at least starting Thursday. According to the calendar, and the constant reassurances by the meteorologists, that’s when it’s scheduled to arrive – on Thursday. Will it? We’ll see. But one thing we know for sure: The Groundhog was right!
To be fair though, winter is leaving but he’s taking baby steps up here in the north country; bigger steps in and down toward the city. Witness his retreat southward along the Hudson River:
Still Frozen in Peekskill
Go 7 miles south to Croton
3 more southward miles to Ossining.
Tarrytown – 6 more miles. Nothing!!!!
Boy, 16 miles can make a big difference, can’t it?
As for the House of Mars, we’re making progress (I guess). Remember my clothes line back in February?
Here it was Sunday…..
My “parking spot” back then?
My walk in February
Hey, I guess it’s not so bad after all! Pipe down, Marble. Spring is a-comin’
I’m not talking about Dr Gregory House, the anti-social doctor with diagnostic prowess of the TV program House. I’m talking about The House of Mars.
As is my wont, I try each year to put off turning on the heat until November 1, not so much for economic reasons, but as a stubborn matter of principle. Some years, it’s a struggle. But dressing in layers does the trick. Other years, I’ve had to give in. This year it looked like I was actually going to make it. It didn’t dip below 50 until last Wednesday – October 23. I only had nine more days to go.
It wasn’t easy though. The windshield thermometer in my car registered 37 degrees on Thursday morning and 38 on Friday. I took to taking showers at the gym and at night, piled on the blankets. Each morning I awoke to a pile of cats beside me. Anyone remember the 70’s group, Three Dog Night? I had Three Cat Night.
Then Friday happened!
I came home Friday evening to what smelled like burnt popcorn. At first I thought it was coming from outside, that neighbors were burning some sort of weird logs in their wood-burning stove. But when I went outside. the smell vanished. Then I realized – not only was it originating from inside, but it was burnt cat hair. Marceau had gone through a period of sleeping on the heating unit this summer.
I went over – touched it – sure enough – still warm.
Insubordination!!!!! It took it upon itself to heat the house. But not by much. You see I never turn it all the way off because two years ago when I did, the pilot went out and I had to get the propane company to re-light it. I now set it to the lowest temperature, I can, without actually turning it off, assuming the house would never get that cold
Looks like I was wrong!
It came on twice more overnight. I guess the house was saying “I’m @#$!! Cold.
This weekend was warmer and by this Friday, November 1, it’s supposed to reach 65 so I’m going to stick it out. Technically, I think I’ll win. After all, I wasn’t the one who turned it on.
But I did winterize outdoors on Saturday so outside could catch up with inside.
The patio is empty.
The shed is full.
The screen door is out.
The storm door is in.
And now I’m ready for the long cold winter
As soon as I finish Fall.
Anyone who knows me knows I am always cold. Always.
New York winters are self-explanatory but summers are as bad. Air conditioning! It’s why you’ll never see me without a shawl in my bag. I’ve been known to duck out of a restaurant to grab my spare shawl from the car. The only redeeming factor of air conditioning is I can go outdoors to warm up!
So, with such an aversion to the cold, why am I devoting a blog to winter and how much I love it? Because of the trees. For me, winter is when the trees come into their glory. I love seeing them stand graceful and tall, shorn of their leaves.
Bone structure; people attribute the beauty of women like Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and the model, Imam to their exquisite bone structure. It’s the same for trees, reaching up to the grey winter sky with their skeletons unadorned, their branches raised in a hallelujah proclamation.
A Glorious Study in Monochrome.
I first fell in love with winter forests when I used to drive to Michigan to visit a friend. Summer woods are soft and huggy but you don’t get to see into them. Driving west along Route 80 in January, I’d steal a second from the road to peek into the woods where I could see deep and wide, viewing it as I imagine deer, rabbits, fox and the like see it; even conjuring up the trek of a few Native Americans making their way home. (All this speculation when my eyes were back on the road)
Then, when I moved to the House of Mars, and it came with its own canopy of woods I was always surprised to see that there are houses just above me – in winter.
See the house? It’s just left of center.
In summer, they don’t exist – out of sight, out of mind.
But it wasn’t until Marcos came in to my life that I really began to like winter. Well, almost. Bundled against the cold we venture out in the early morning with trees our stationary companions. Walking slowly along the same route every day gives me the opportunity to notice things I never notice when driving or running. And in winter I notice even more. Trees and bushes, heavy with leaves, blend into each other, but in winter they glory in their uniqueness.
But let me say no more. It’s their show.
Marcos is ready
What great bone structure!
Hearty Winter Survivors of a Lush English Garden
A Winter Cheerleader with Pom-Poms
My appreciation of winter isn’t limited to my eyes. My ears notice too. The brook that flows through my little community is louder, clearer, with no leaves to muffle the sound.
. Gurgle, Gurgle
Rhododendrons have the amazing power to shrink when the temps dip below 32, only to bounce back as soon as the mercury starts to rise. But while they’re momentarily paper-thin, the wind turns them into wind chimes.
Before I go inside, let me introduce you to my new winter best friend.
Hi, they call me The Snow Boss
And let’s check in on my summer best friend.
Wake Me when Summer’s Here