SNOWY CRYSTAL MORNINGS

Picture window snow morning analog

It snows and then snows some more. It has been snowing almost every day for a couple of weeks and there is no end in sight. Well, that’s not true. There is an end. Almost in sight. We call it spring. About 6 weeks away, in the future. We can see it on the calendar. We hold it in our hearts.

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In the meantime, we live in a land of white and snow. Deep snow and drifts. Icicles that hang 20 feet down from the roof. If I was to pick the moment when even I — tired though I am of snow and utterly weary of cold — stop and catch my breath from the sheer beauty of snow, it’s early in the morning after a storm.

Not a blizzard. Blizzards have wind that keep flakes from settling gently on every surface.

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A quiet snow where the flakes fall straight out of the sky and stick to every twig and branch leaving a frosted world. It’s the perfect picture of a New England winter. Elegant. Ephemeral. Gone in an hour — or less — as the sun melts the thin coating away. But for that brief interval …

WINTER VIEW: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

A Photo A Week Challenge: View

Right now, all my views contain snow. Deep snow, drifting snow. Snow so deep, it is almost above my head. If the forecast is correct, next week it will be deeper than I am tall.

Snow. The best and worst of winter.

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The view from my kitchen door the morning after a storm. The world is frosted. Ever branch and twig. Everything is frozen, waiting for spring to come.

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And then, there’s the snow, through the front picture window. The snow has barely stopped. It’s as close to perfect as it will be. Until the next snowstorm.

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BIRDS IN THE BUSH

Sunday morning, I woke to a blanket of snow across the landscape. Maybe 5 inches. Not a mega storm, but enough to cover the branches of the trees, the lawn, and the forest floor.

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I went out to take some pictures. Maybe it was the time of day … it was just a little past eight in the morning. There were dozens of little birds heading for the big forsythia bush. The birds love that bush. They love it in summer and spring and fall as well as in the winter. I don’t know if there is something there which they eat, or they just feel safe in its twisted branches.

We used to try to control it, but in recent years, it has quite gotten away from us, completely hiding the chain link fence that is the demarcation between our yard and the woods.

I was able to get some pictures of the little birds, something that usually eludes me. I don’t know what they are. Some kind of wren or finch. There are so many and they look very much alike. Our garden birds, sharing our world.

BLIZZARD OF 1978 – GARRY ARMSTRONG

There’s a big storm coming. How big? Hard to tell, but definitely a very substantial snow event. This seems to be the time of year when the biggest storms hit this region. About 37 years ago, when a storm began moving into eastern Massachusetts on the afternoon of Feb. 6, 1978, thousands of people were let out of work early to get home before the storm. But traffic was, as usual, heavy and the snow began falling at over an inch per hour. Soon more than 3,000 automobiles and 500 trucks were stranded in rapidly building snowdrifts along Rt. 128 (same as Route 95). Fourteen people died from carbon monoxide poisoning as they huddled in trapped cars.


GARRY ARMSTRONG: 

There are so many incredible scenes that remain clear in my memory from the Blizzard of ’78.

I was smack dab in the middle of it from the beginning as one of the few reporters who could get to the station without a car. I lived just down the street and was able to slog through the snow to the newsroom. I found myself doing myriad live shots across Massachusetts and other parts of New England. I would like to give a special shout out to my colleagues who ran the cameras, the trucks, set our cable and mike lines, kept getting signals when it seemed impossible and worked nonstop under the most dire and difficult conditions. All I had to do was stand in front of the camera or interview people. I recall standing in the middle of the Mass Turnpike, the Southeast Expressway, Rt. 495 and other major arteries doing live shots.

There was no traffic. There were no people. Abandoned vehicles littered the landscape. It was surreal. Sometimes it felt like Rod Serling was calling the shots. The snow accumulation was beyond impressive. I am or was 5 foot 6 inches. I often had to stand on snow “mountains” to be seen. My creative camera crews used the reverse image to dwarf me (no snickering, please) to show the impressive snow piles. No trickery was needed. Mother Nature did it all.

Downtown Boston looked like something out of the cult movie “The World, The Flesh And The Devil”. The end of the world at hand. No motor traffic, very few people: just snow as high and as far as the eye could see.

Ironically, people who were usually indifferent to each other became friendly and caring. Acts of kindness and compassion were commonplace, at least for a few days. Those of us working in front or back of the camera logged long hours, minimal sleep, lots of coffee, lots of pizza and intermittently laughed and grumbled. There are some behind the scenes stories that will stay there for discretion’s sake.

The Blizzard of ’78 will always be among the top stories in my news biz career. It needs no embellishment. The facts and the pictures tell it all.

One more thing. It needs no hype or hysteria.

STUFF IN THE GARDEN — CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #3

A different challenge got me thinking about benches. Lawn furniture in general and that got me wondering what I’ve done with all the pictures I’ve taken of our tables, chairs, frogs, and whatever else lives in the garden. Today, the oddballs are garden stuff. Benches, chairs, table, and more.

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL – IN BLACK AND WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Weather

The weather outside really is frightful. It’s below zero with a wind chill that makes it worse. I’m not sure how much worse. Tomorrow? Some snow, of course. This is January in New England. We have weather. Lots and lots of it.

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Weather is a particularly good subject for black and white. Cloud formations, snow, and ice are naturals in monochrome. Even a sunrise can look smashing in monochrome.

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Living in New England, we have a lot of all of different kinds of weather. And if you don’t like the weather right now? Wait a minute …

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SNOW FALLING WITH PAW PRINTS

For once, our weather forecasts were dead on. They predicted a little bit of snow. Less than an inch. I’m always suspicious because so often, they predict “a little bit of snow” and I wake up in the morning and we are buried under two or more feet of white stuff.

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But this time, Wunderground predicted snow would start falling around 9 in the morning and end an hour or two later.

Indeed it did. When I got up at eight, it was overcast, but nothing was on the ground nor was anything falling. I went back to bed. I got up an hour later. It was snowing. I grabbed a camera, took a few pictures. Always trying to capture the falling snow. It’s easier to see the flakes at night than it is during the day, but you can judge for yourself whether or not I succeeded.

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Bonnie thought I was offering her a rare opportunity to explore the deck and had to go out and poke around, so her paw prints are all over at least one picture.

Bonnie was a Christmas puppy and her natural habitat is snow. I remember housebreaking Bonnie during one of the snowiest winters we ever had. Up to my hips in snow, with more of it falling and the wind blowing. It was dark and so cold. There I was, saying “Bonnie, please just go already.”

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And Bonnie was playing with the snow, making tunnels. Bounding through drifts. Rolling and digging. Never mind poor mom who needed to go inside to defrost.

She still loves the snow, although these days she is equally happy with piles of leaves that drop from the oaks every autumn. Anything in which she can dig and tunnel. Terriers. Earth dogs indeed. But also, snow dogs.