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.

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

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.

PRETTY. NOT FROZEN. WITH BRIGHT COLORS.

It snowed. Again. We had a couple of days intermission, but it doesn’t seem we’ve had a real pause between storms. I did not take any pictures of today’s storm. I wasn’t feeling inspired. More like depressed. I hoped we’d miss this one. It wasn’t a big storm. A itty bitty one, but still a storm.

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Maybe I’ll take a few pictures tomorrow. The new pictures will look exactly like the previous pictures. I’m limited to taking pictures from my doorways. All three of them — back, front, and side. Then there are views from my picture window, a few through my kitchen or bathroom windows. They seem unchanged, except for the growth of the ice dams.

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More snow looks the same as it has looked since the first storm at the end of January. Hard to believe until January 27th, the ground was clear.

I’m sure we will remember this as the most brutal and brief winter ever.

The buildup of ice along the back of the house is bad, but there’s nothing we can do about it until it warms up and melts. It’s too thick to break and pulling it off will take the gutters with them.

We’re going to have some repairs to do on the roof and siding when this is over. That’s what insurance is for. This kind of damage is covered and we will not be the only ones putting in claims as spring comes and we can to assess the damage.

In the meantime, Garry brought home flowers the other day. So, rather than shooting more snow, I thought I’d shoot flowers. Because they are pretty, not frozen, and colorful.

THEN IT SNOWED EVEN MORE

It has not been the apocalypse. Not “Snowmageddon.” Nonetheless, as I write this, we are approaching three feet of accumulated snow. It’s not over, either. Depending on who you are following, we’ve got quite a few hours more of storm to navigate. More snow on Friday and maybe more on Monday. An awful lot of white stuff.

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So let’s do good news first.

Snow is crystallized water. When it melts, it usually does it slowly enough to be absorbed by the aquifer. Snow is better for the water supply than heavy rains.

This snow, though huge, came late. We got through most of January without any significant snowfall. In one more month, it will be the end of February and three weeks after that, the vernal equinox. In other words, spring. Winter arrived with a bang, but it will be a brief season. Not like the years when it starts snowing in November and we don’t see the ground again until April. No matter how much snow we get between now and whenever, they can’t take away the extra weeks we got where the ground was clear and the landscape was not a frozen wasteland.

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The unfortunate part is self-evident.

A lot of snow means a lot of snow-removal. We hope we can find someone to plow us out. Eventually, I’m sure we will, but we are poor, so we are not high on the rankings of places to plow first. The guys with plows will dig out people with fatter checkbooks before they get to us. I could complain about that, but I also understand the economics which apply. Some of these guys depend on the money they earn in the winter to keep them through warmer months, so they hustle while there’s business.

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Someone will help us. I just don’t know when. Meanwhile, it’s beautiful. A bit arctic. The snow is deep. This is the most snow I’ve ever seen from a single storm. It may be a record for the region. Still, there’s no arguing with how pretty it is.

SNOW IS FALLING, FALLING, FALLING

Embrace the Ick — Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.


I guess it would depend on how you feel about blizzards. I love them. I do. The excitement, the crazed, hyper meteorologists practically foaming at the mouth with enthusiasm. They do truly live for storms and it’s contagious. Briefly, before I get into the actual dynamics of what is about to happen, I’m a child again. No school! For like, a week!

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Then, I remember I am not a kid. I’m a senior citizen trapped in the house until we can find someone to plow out our ski slope (aka, the driveway). It would make a pretty good bunny slope, actually and I have often thought of how we could earn a few bucks from it. Never quite worked out the details, but I haven’t stopped hoping.

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At nine in the morning …

When I went to sleep last night, the predictions for this area had gone down to just about 18 inches, but when I got up this morning, it was obvious we had exceeded the predictions.

At three in the afternoon …

Since it’s still snowing to beat the band and isn’t going to stop until sometime late tomorrow, we may actually get the prize for total accumulation, though for sheer ferocity and damage, Cape Cod, Cape Ann, Hull, Scituate, and other places on the edge of the Atlantic are getting thoroughly trounced.

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So, enjoy the pictures. If you are in New England or New York, you probably have your own pictures. It’s hard to argue with the beauty of a major snow event. Snow is elegant. It produces naturally monochromatic images that can be quite breathtaking. I couldn’t get more than a couple of feet from any door and some of the doors proved nearly impossible to open, what with the snow piled up against it.

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All of these pictures are taken from our deck, out one of the windows, or from the bottom of the driveway. There’s nowhere else to go. Owen and Garry did some digging in the front yard so the dogs could get out, but even our snow-loving Australian Shepherd seems to think a nice, indoor nap is a better idea. I’m with him.

I’ll make pasta sauce later. The smell of the sauce should make us all feel cozy and warm. Meanwhile, the snow is falling, falling, falling.

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Challenge: 2015 Week #4

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, 
that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”
― Lewis Carroll, 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Oddball:  noun   a person or thing that is atypical, bizarre, eccentric, or nonconforming
                 adjective  whimsically free-spirited; eccentric; atypical

strange artistic woods

strange artistic woods