NATURALLY MONOCHROME IN WINTER

Black & White Sunday: NATURAL

When I think of a challenge I intend it to be as broad and as specific as possible. This time the theme is NATURAL – it can be nature in general, human nature or anything in between.

What an interesting challenge from Paula!

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last snow trees vertical winter

I have a variety of pictures, taken during the winter when snow-covered the ground, that are practically speaking, black and white. Naturally monochrome. That is the way the world actually looks in winter.

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It is beautiful, but it should be no surprise that we are all very grateful when the flowers return and there is color in the world again.

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None of these pictures were stripped of color using software. This is the way the world looked at the time. This is winter in New England.

SPRING IS HERE, THE EARTH REJOICES: CHANGING SEASONS 05

Monthly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons 05

sunlight on chestnut-st

In March we were buried under ten feet of snow. In April, it rained steadily every day and most nights for almost two weeks. When the rain stopped, the snow was gone. Or nearly.

And now — it’s May. Our world is full of flowers. The trees have baby leaves with a hint of gold. The magnolia and forsythia are blooming. Waiting time is over. From until winter comes again, are world is a riot of color, warm sunny days, shorts, tee shirts, and barbecue.

WEATHER’S COMING!

I live in the Blackstone Valley where no one tells you nothing. When weather people stand in the studio and do their predicting, they position themselves so you can see the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Except where we live because that’s where they stand.

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I asked our friend, the trustworthy meteorologist (there is one and he is it) about this. He said, “Well, we have to stand somewhere.” But on his next broadcast, he moved aside for a few seconds so that I could see the map. Thanks!

When anyone mentions the valley at all, it’s Worcester. The rest of our towns don’t exist. I have learned to read weather maps because I’m not going to get information any other way. Dinosaurs could be roaming the Valley, and no one would notice unless one of them ate a tourist.

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Now that we’re turning the corner to warm weather, I can take a deep breath and relax. It’s a quiet weather period, usually.

The past couple of months gave us a big dose of weather frenzy. Most of it was on the money, unlike previous winters when the frenzy exceeded reality by 100%, give or take a few points. I was numb from the hyperbole of previous years, so I ignored the warnings. When the first, huge blizzard hit at the end of January, we were unprepared. I hadn’t even bought extra groceries.

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The frenzy isn’t harmless.

Weather sells. It pulls in viewers. When hurricanes or blizzards threaten, people who normally don’t watch the news tune in. Higher ratings, lots of teasers.

“Seven feet of snow on the way!! Will you be buried tomorrow? Story at 11!” It’s money in the bank. Doom is a perennial best-seller.

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TV stations like to whip everyone into a frenzy. It’s good business. Weather predictions don’t carry issues of journalistic responsibility. No one can call you to task for being wrong because, after all, it’s the weather.

The frenzy is not harmless. Every weather event is presented as if it’s the end of the world. It’s impossible to figure out if this next thing is serious or more of the same.

Should we lay in supplies? Ignore it? Plan to evacuate? Fill all the water containers? Cancel travel plans? Make travel plans? Head for public shelters?

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Hysteria is exhausting and worse, it’s numbing. Some of us worry about the possibility of weeks without electricity. Telling us our world is ending is upsetting if you believe it. It is even more dangerous if it’s serious, and we don’t believe it.

They shouldn’t say that stuff unless it’s true. Or might be true. At the least, it’s rude to scare us to death, and then say “Sorry folks.”

You can’t unring the bell. When the real deal occurs — as it did this winter — we don’t listen. Weather forecasting may not be legally subject to standards or accuracy, but maintaining credibility might be worthwhile. I’m just saying, you know?

THE FIRST SUNNY SUNDAY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

It is spring. The calendar is unequivocal.

Spring has officially been here for nearly three weeks. Sure enough, if you look carefully, you can see the signs. Crocuses in the garden. Fat buds on trees and vines.

Our back garden is full of day lily shoots. They have a lot of growing to do before they bloom — a month or more — but they’re coming up thick and fast. It’s going to be a bonanza year for day lilies. I hope their enthusiasm is contagious.

This past weekend, the temperatures soared. The sun came out and stayed out.

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And we emerged.  Winter-pale, wearing crumpled shorts and tee shirts pulled from the bottom of drawers in which they have lain since last October. Squinting in the strong sunlight. Winter is finally over. We won!

Hauling cameras and fishing poles, kayaks and canoes. Picnic baskets. Umbrellas and lawn blankets. With small frisky dogs in tow.

It was the first sunny Sunday after the worst-ever winter.

No leaves yet on the trees. Nor were any flowers — wild or cultivated — to be seen. There is a world of hope for more sunny days and weeks stretching ahead. It’s the beginning. Never have we deserved it more.

WAITING FOR SPRING: CHANGING SEASONS 04

Monthly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons 04

This time last month, we were buried. Ten feet of snow blanketed everything. Icicles hung heavy from the eaves. Ice covered the Blackstone River.

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Then the rain came. It rained steadily, every day and most nights for almost two weeks. When the rain stopped, the snow was gone. Or nearly gone.

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Last week, we got the last snow of this winter. Part snow, sleet, and hail, it laid down two inches and melted the next morning.

After the snows melt, but before the flowers bloom, there is a pre-spring. The end of March and most of April is a time of naked trees. There are buds and some few early flowers. Suddenly, in the middle of May, the world bursts into color. Trees flower and gardens are full of lilies.

spring buds by the river

Not yet, however. Only the crocus have dared to show their flowery heads. Everything waits.

ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 15

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 15

The last snow, in the parking lot by the river

The last snow, in the parking lot by the river

The weather has finally turned nice. Really lovely. It was shirtsleeve weather today. Our gardens aren’t blooming yet, but we were able to plant our little live Christmas trees today.

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It was bright, warm, and lovely. We went to the nearest park. It turned out, so did everyone else.

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We took a few pictures. I didn’t think I was taking that many pictures until I came home and downloaded them, realized I had taken a few hundred shots. Garry took a couple of hundred more.

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I guess we aren’t the only ones with cabin fever. People were fishing, canoeing, kayaking. Chasing their dogs around and laughing. It was a most convivial crowd and the first warm, sunny Sunday since the snow melted.

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camera bags in the park

DRIVING THROUGH THE RAIN

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #14

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It’s raining again. It has been raining for more than a week and will continue to rain for a few days more. Actually, to be entirely accurate, it’s a mixture of sleet, hail, and rain. Nasty.

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This make it a perfect time to post pictures of driving in rain. I might mention, at this point, that both my husband and I very much dislike driving in rain and I’m afraid to drive in snow.

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If you use headlights, they reflect back and you can’t see anything. But of course, if you don’t turn on your lights, no one can see you coming. Also dangerous.

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