THE LAST SNOW

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When I woke up around dawn Saturday morning, it was drizzling. As it had been, off and on, for several days. I went back to bed. Too early for anything useful. The next time I woke up, a couple of hours later, big fat snowflakes were drifting from the sky. Not a serious snow.

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If I have learned nothing else, it is how to tell the difference between snow that means business, and those casually drifting snow flakes which will evaporate when they touch ground. I went back to bed. Again.

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When finally I got up and it was time for coffee and the day to begin, the snow had changed again. Finer flakes, but now mixed with a hint of rain. Still not serious.

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And so it has continued for several hours. Not enough snow to make a statement. It is just winter lodging a formal protest against being forced to leave.

Sorry about that, old man winter. You’ve out-stayed your welcome. There’s a new weather deity in town and she brings flowers and warmer weather. Pack your bags and go wherever you are supposed to be.

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This is, I am convinced, the last snow. We will see no more of it until the seasons roll around again. It’s not that we haven’t seen snow later than this.

I remember a 28 inch blizzard on April 1st that was (no surprise) dubbed “The April Fool’s Blizzard.” It came, dumped more than two feet on Boston, then melted in a couple of days of 70 degree temperatures. I’m told there have been surprise snowstorms as late as mid May. But not this year.

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This is the last snow of this winter. I have decided.

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ODE TO SPRING

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Maybe we’ll just stay home.

LAST BIRDS OF WINTER

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Slowly, the ice and snow is melting. Very slowly. Huge piles of frozen slush. The birds are still hanging around and we have had a bit of additional fluffy snow.

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Nothing serious, not enough to cover the ground that is finally exposed. The birds have been pecking away at the ground.

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I’m sure they are very happy to find some live food, some green. Even if it is just moss.

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HIGH IN MISTY MOUNTAINS

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

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These are the mountains along the Canadian border.

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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 …

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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

ODDER STILLS?

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 11

My leftover pictures are very much like all my pictures. I overshoot and take more frames than I can possibly use, so there are always spares.

There’s nothing wrong with them. if there was something wrong, I’d delete them … but these are merely not those I chose to (initially) process.

Sometimes, I feel guilty about them, as if they have been unfairly overlooked. Like maybe they feel hurt because I chose frame 25 while ignoring frame 27. Although I realize this is ridiculous, I do anthropomorphize everything. Flowers and photographs.


Camera conversations:

“Why have you been using the Q7 and not me?” screams an Olympus PM2.

“Shh! You’ll wake the big Panasonic!”

So, in the name of fairness and equality, here are some of the photographs which were, through no fault of their own, left behind.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

REMEMBERING WHY

Cold. Fifty inches of snow on the ground. Groundhog day has come and gone, but we didn’t need a groundhog to know that winter is far from over.

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Far from over, yet less than two months to spring. Which is difficult to imagine right now, when it looks like the Antarctic just outside our front door and there’s no chance we will be able to go anywhere until Owen and the snowblower clear a path.

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It’s a good time to remember why we live in New England. Because it isn’t always like this.

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Spring will come and there will be flowers. Sunshine.

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Warm days and green fields.

River Bend Farm river

A lazy river where ducks, geese, swans, and herons nest, fish, and enjoy those sunny days.

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 Wildflowers and water lilies and gardens full of color.

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It’s why we stay here, put up with the cold, ice, and snow. Because spring and summer always come again, and finally the finale — Autumn. That’s the payoff.

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