BELATED CHRISTMAS? ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE WEEK 13

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge:

2015 Week #13

What makes these oddball? These lovely pictures that look like Christmas?

They were taken on March 28th and March 29th. Not Christmas. Not even close. I sincerely hope that I don’t have the opportunity to take any more of these kinds of pictures until NEXT winter!!

ODE TO SPRING

72-Snowy River-032015_01

March 20, 2015. It was the first day of spring. Cold, raw, with leaden skies and a promise of snow. Supposedly not a lot of snow. The forecast called for less than an inch. Not noteworthy. After the past 7 weeks, “noteworthy” has a new meaning.

72-Reflections-Snowy River-032015_65

So I said “Let’s go shooting,” and Garry agreed.

Garry goes out everyday. I am sometimes inside for a week or more. Usually, it doesn’t bother me. This winter, though, I haven’t been able to get out at all, not even to the backyard or deck.

72-Garry-Snowy River-032015_59

Finally, I got restless. I had a sudden, urgent need for a change of scenery. An airing. It was, after all, spring. The vernal equinox.

We went down to the river and took pictures.

72-Snowy River-032015_41

I’ve lived in the northeast my entire life, minus 9 years. Garry too. We’ve both been in New England through many winters. I don’t remember this much snow still on the ground so late in the season. Not in my 28 winters. Garry’s been here or in Boston for 45 years and he doesn’t remember one like this, either.

72-Snow-GAR-032015_10

I don’t necessarily expect it to be warm and flowery at the end of March, but I expect the snow to be mostly melted. Maybe see a crocus or two. Robins returning to build nests.

72-Snow-Window-032015_15

Not this year. No crocus, no robins. And the thing is, it’s cold. Still dropping into the low twenties at night and barely going above freezing by day.

72-Crop-Snow-GAR-032015_05

 

NOTHING SAYS SPRINGTIME LIKE MORE SNOW

March 21, 2015. It was the second day of spring. Surprise! It’s snowing. It had been snowing since the previous afternoon and there wasn’t much accumulation. But it wasn’t nothing, either. All the ground which had appeared was white again.

72-Junco-ZS200--032115_52

I took pictures out the front of the house, out the back window and over the deck. I still can’t get to the deck, but I can push the door open about halfway. We call this progress.

We cancelled our planned excursion for the beginning of April. Even if the weather turns suddenly seasonably warm, it will take more than two weeks for the mess to clear up. For the mud to dry up. For the huge piles of dirty ice to disappear. Maybe we’ll go in the autumn.

72-Q7-Bishhop--032115_12

Maybe we’ll just stay home.

MONTHLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – THE CHANGING SEASONS 03

Monthly Photo Challenge:

The Changing Seasons 03

The rules are simple. Every month, each of us posts pictures of the same area where we live that shows the seasons as they change. This month should look more springlike. There is less snow than there was in February. Probably several feet less, but it snowed the day before yesterday, laying down a few new inches of powder.

It seemed so unfair, it being the first day of spring and all. I hope by the next month, I will have pictures of flowers. These were taken over a period of a week.

Perhaps the grass will be green again and the robins will be nesting.

LATE AFTERNOON IN THE MIDDLE OF MARCH

72-Late-Afternoon-March-12_20

It was nearly sundown in the middle of March. At this time of year, I ought, by rights, to be counting crocus. I am instead taking pictures of piles of frozen slush.

72-Sunset-March-12_39

It was after five in the evening and the shadows were long. Bonnie had obviously discovered the snowdrifts were no longer soft, but climbable. Most inconvenient. That one is way too smart for her own good!

72-Sunset-March-12_40

Today it’s raining and hopefully, that will reduce the height of the frozen piles of old snow. Maybe even peel away enough layers that we can get to the yellow car we haven’t seen since January.

72-At Home-March-12_25

Maybe, underneath this mess, the flowers are struggling to come out of the earth. Maybe they have already popped up … and are there, waiting, underneath the ice and snow.

72-March-12_28

HIGH IN MISTY MOUNTAINS

72-AtteanView_001

Dreamlike images remind me of Middle Earth. We are in Maine.

72-Friday-AtteanView_44

These are the mountains along the Canadian border.

72-skowhegan_04

Just look out the cabin door or drive a short way down the mountain. A breathtaking world of color, mist, mountains and clouds. Colors so unreal they feel like magic, as if trees are glowing from within.

And down in along Route 201 toward Skowhegan …

path by the cabin in jackman

We’re heading back in the middle of May. This time, spring. I will always feel at home where the mountains rise to kiss the sky.


Places – The Daily Prompt

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME RETURNS WITH A CARDINAL

72-Classic-Sunrise_01

I’ve started keeping a camera in the bedroom. My bathroom window has a phenomenal view of the hedge and woods. It faces east and when I first wake up, the sun is just coming up. Some mornings, the sky above the woods is ablaze.

72-OIL-Cardinal-II_16

Since the first of the heavy snows at the end of January, birds have been congregating in the forsythia hedge behind the house. At first I thought they were feeding there. Maybe they were, though I think they must have picked it clean by now. Still they gather in the hedge, mostly dark-eyed juncos, but now our cardinal and miscellaneous other garden birds.

72-Sunrise_04

It’s quite a distance, so I use my super-zoom camera. I cannot see the birds clearly with my eyes alone, but I see them through the lens.

72-Cardinal-II_28

At first I didn’t see the cardinal this morning. I took a few shots of the sunrise and was about to put the camera away and go back to bed when I got a flash of scarlet. There he was. It was warmer this morning and my cardinal was not as puffed up as he was the other day. He was also at least 100 feet further away than the last time I saw him and I needed every inch of my 600 mm lens. It is not so easy to focus such a long lens on such a small thing as a little bird, but I got some nice pictures.

72-Cardinal-II_20

I am hoping this is the end of winter. The weather guys on television are predicting warmer temperatures soon. In a few weeks, the snow will be gone, the flowers poking up through the mud.

Last Saturday, we set the clocks back an hour. We have returned to Daylight Savings Time. I take that as a good sign.

OUT MY WINDOW – WHAT DO YOU SEE?

I woke up at a little after six this morning and my fuzzy eyes were immediately caught by an incredible glow coming in my window. It was dawn, just before sunrise and the entire sky was blazing deep pink and gold. I had my camera just a hand grab away and took some pictures. My friends, the breakfast club juncos were out in force, too. Here are a few pictures of my morning.

72-Sunrise-0310_13

What do you see when you look out your window? My view is breathtaking.

There seems to be some kind of misunderstanding. We’ve had a very hard — if brief — winter. We’ve had a huge amount of snow during a rather short period. While it’s easy to not want to be buried up to ones lip in snow and ice, I wouldn’t swap life here in this beautiful valley for city sidewalks. Not again. Been there — for a very long time, including a decade overseas — and am done with that.

72-Sunrise-0310_06

Public transport is a wonderful thing. Throughout my New York city childhood and teens, I used the subway as a matter of course. I didn’t even think about it. I rode buses and subways. I was young, spry. And I had no choice.

In Jerusalem, I rode buses. Jerusalem is an old city with narrow roads. The price of petrol was high and parking was scarce, so I didn’t bring my car into the city, but I used is for lots of other things. When I got back to the States and moved to Boston, I never used the T. By the time I moved to Boston, I was done with hauling ass into smelly, noisy subway stations. Sitting in trains packed body-to-body. Moreover, buses have all the same issues as cars. They are subject to the same traffic and tie-ups.

Garry and I lived downtown, in the middle of the city. We could walk most places in halfway decent weather. I had great muscles in my Boston years. I was still agile enough to haul myself and the groceries uphill and not need to call an ambulance afterward. Later, we moved to Roxbury, at the edge of the city. There was plenty of parking on the street and in the parking lot of our condominium. Our doctor was in the suburbs. We did everything except grocery shopping in the suburbs. I was a wrong way commuter when I didn’t work at home.

72-Birds in bush-Sunrise-0310_22

Garry worked at weird hours, so usually, traffic wasn’t a major issue. Then came The Big Dig, the gigantic public works project which tore Boston apart for more than 15 years. We fled to the country and we still live here.

Do I yearn for city life, with its restaurants and convenient public transport? Not really. I like an occasional jaunt into town, but I’ve no desire to live there. I certainly hope I’ve never conveyed that impression. Of course I’d definitely appreciate less brutal winters, but when you add up the columns … positive vs. negative… New England wins every time. I love the culture of the region. I love the natural beauty, the rivers, the valley. The birds. I love the farm around the corner.  The architecture. The intense blueness of state politics.

72-Sunrise-0310_15

I’m deeply grateful for the great, universal health care. Amazing health care and state-of-the-art, world-class facilities. And doctors, without whom I’d be dead thrice over.

Pity about the miserable winters … but I’m not going to trade living someplace I love for someplace with easier winters. Not in this life, but maybe next time.