SOME LIKE IT COLD – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – COLD THINGS

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Winter has arrived here in southern New England. It came late, but it has announced its presence on no uncertain terms.

It snowed last Monday. Snowed again all day Sunday and into early Monday this week. Now, the temperature is dropping.

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Right now, it’s hovering around the freezing mark, but by the end of the week, it will be hovering around zero.

Cold. Very, very cold.

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Some folks like winter. I suspect most of them are young, don’t have to get to work early in the morning … or are passionate about winter sports.

I loved winter when I was in elementary school. Snow meant the likelihood of school being canceled. It meant a day of sledding. Frozen feet and hands didn’t bother me, then.

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The world is pretty, all frosted with snow, but it’s difficult for us — older, tireder, with arthritic knees and bad backs — to navigate the slippery slope of the driveway. To park in the drifts which hang around parking lots right through the spring.

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But it sure is pretty.

cee's fun foto chall

BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – WINTER

Old #2 in winter

If there is one season we have more than enough of here in New England, it’s winter. It depends on the year, of course, Not all winters are created equal. Usually, we are buried under ice and snow from late November to early April. But there are exceptions.

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Every once in a while, we have a mild winter. We had one a few winters ago where there was nothing more than a dusting of snow for the winter … and then we had a drought in the spring because there was no melt-off to fill the rivers, aquifers, and lakes. Still, I was personally grateful for the break.

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Last year was horrendous. It was not the coldest winter I can remember, nor the snowiest, but it had the most ice. And bitter weather when you most needed a thaw to reduce the weight of snow on roofs, to make roads and walkways passable.

Hadley Snow Farm

Fortunately, spring was not accompanied, as it often is, by torrential rains so we avoided the annual flooding of everyone’s basement in all the valley’s towns.

Vintage snow through wintdow

Yet winter is magnificent. When that first layer of white comes down from the skies and wraps the world in its soft blanket, it’s hard not to hear music and poetry in your head. If only it weren’t so bitter … or last so long.

Hadley Winter Grove

How about we strike a deal? One month of winter … say January? Start right after the New Year then melt in time for Valentine’s Day. That would be more than sufficient.

Dec 2012 snow 1

ANDANTE SOSTENUTO

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A long first movement. Snow fell slowly, relentless. No wind, so the sticky whiteness adhered to every surface, twig. Every inch of ground.

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The world went white and then darkness fell.

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The woodwinds were silent for a long pause and are still silent today. Not an oboe — an ill-wind that no one blows good — to be heard. Only a piccolo twitter from an early Carolina wren (wondering how he wound up in this symphony when he was sure he was playing the Rites of Spring) breaks the slow, almost ponderous progressions of the strings.

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A long symphony is underway. Weeks long. It is only for those with the most patient ears, those willing to sit through the shiny but slow middle until at last, the orchestra breaks free.

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Then, bring forth the wild excitement of the Molto allegro con vivo third and final movement. With flowers, please.

Daily Prompt: Critical Eye (Musically speaking)

WINTER SHOWED UP

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After a delightfully warm December and January (for the most part), and after the lying groundhog didn’t see his shadow, it began to snow.

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Late last night, the first sleet mixed with rain began to fall and by this morning, it was entirely snow. Wet, heavy snow. The kind of snow that sticks to everything, especially tree branches and power lines.

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The trees in the front and rear of the house are bowed with the weight of snow on their limbs. The weather services keep upping the amount predicted, though it doesn’t seem to be snowing heavily enough to accumulate a foot. I guess we shall see.

I’m hoping for a little breeze to move the branches and shake some of the snow from the trees. Snow makes pretty pictures, but it’s a real pain in the butt in every other way.

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Meanwhile, complaints aside, it is beautiful outside. It is a classic winter wonderland, worthy of Currier and Ives … or Robert Frost.

I guess we’re going to have winter after all. I was perfectly content without snow. Really. I was.

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SNOW AND THE MEMORY OF SUMMER AND THE NEXT MORNING

Winter morning

Winter morning

It was a huge storm and it buried the mid-Atlantic states. It didn’t miss us completely, but the brunt of the storm — the worst of it — passed us by.

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Just as the light was going away, I snapped a few pictures. I never did quite get around to throwing away the dead potted chrysanthemums, so their dried memories of summer are being covered by fresh snow.

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Sad? Maybe. But it’s also another reminder that after the snow, there will be spring and summer.

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And in the morning, a white cover of maybe 4-1/2 inches of fluffy snow … and a brilliant blue sky and bright sun.

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THE EARTH TURNS

As winter tightens its grip on our valley, I remember that the earth turns.

Our days are longer, a little more each day.

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It seems likely we will miss the worst of the blizzard heading up the Atlantic coast, though the mid-Atlantic states are getting clobbered.

Apple blossom time

Apple blossom time

It’s good to remember that spring is as inevitable as winter. Trees will bloom. Crocus will poke through a still-frozen earth. Life will renew. It always does.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016 (Thank you Cardinal Guzman!)

TODAY CAME THE COLD

We shouldn’t have been surprised because it happens every year, pretty much at the same time. Middle of November, after a long period of rather warm weather, one day the temperature drops and suddenly, you feel that first bite of winter.

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I remember one year, more than 20 years ago, it was November 18th. Garry and I had gone in short sleeves and no jackets to a local dive for lunch. We were living on Beacon Hill and given the perils of alternate side of the street parking, we had walked the mile.

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We were there about two hours. It had been around 70 degrees when we arrived at the Bulfinch. When we emerged, the temperature was about 40 degrees and the wind was whipping around the tall building. We ran home, not stopping until the door was closed firmly behind us.

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This morning, when we got up, it was warm. Not 70, but mid sixties. Overcast and a bit blowy. When a few hours later we left to drive to Milford to pick up some antibiotics for Bishop, it was still warm. I noticed it was a bit chilly when we arrived at the veterinary office at 12:30. Less than an hour later, we stopped at the grocery store. It was cold. Not cooler. Cold. Maybe 50 degrees with a brisk breeze snapping the naked trees. The sky was bright blue with a few high cirrus clouds.

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The cold had come. Other shoppers were hugging themselves, still dressed in short sleeves, unprepared for the precipitous temperature drop. We had jackets on, but it was definitely time for the next level of outerwear.

Trees are bare. A few die-hard shrubs are hanging on to their leaves, but otherwise, it’s the tail-end of autumn when the world pauses, catching its breath. Feeling the first chill fingers of winter.

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A good time for the casting of sharp shadows across roads and parking lots. A good time to lay in supplies for the season to come.