Twisted River in March

The banks of the river are an endless series of curves. This is especially prominent in winter, when the water seems black as pitch against the snow along the shore. And yet these were taken in spring. Many inches of snow had already melted and the ice was mostly gone from the river. Not black and white, but definitely monochrome.

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It snowed a billion tons of snow just a single week ago. Billions and trillions of tons and there was no food in the grocery store. We would be without power, without … anything. Life was ending. The hysteria on the television got to me eventually. I usually ignore the frenzy, but every now and again, I ignore it and wish I’d paid a little bit more attention. Like by getting another loaf of bread. Or maybe a few cold cuts.

Garry, who is totally unfazed by this stuff, went out into the Big Wide World and brought home a few odds and ends of groceries. Bread. Cold cuts. My prescription. We didn’t really need much. I keep the freezer well stocked, so it would have to really BE a billion tons of snow before we ran out of food.

Now, it’s dripping. The snow on the roof is drip, drip, dripping onto the ground. The snow and ice on the ground is drip, drip, dripping into the soil. Which presumably will burst forth into bright spring flowers. Soon. Like who knows? Day after tomorrow?

In the name of the billions and trillions of tons of snow that fell upon us last week (which, I might add, turned to rain before the big Kahuna nailed us with its massive power), a few pictures.

Over all? Not a bad winter.



I was going to go outside and take pictures. Then, I looked. Garry had just come inside after cleaning off the front of the house so the dogs can get out, the parking area by the garage. Which means we can at least get the doors open. Then he manfully shoveled the back deck. As he approaches 75, this is no mean feat. What can I do but be incredibly, wildly impressed.

But I still didn’t go outside. Remember our last snow? I said “fluffy, soft flakes” and that when you see them, you know you aren’t going to get that mean, ugly, serious hard snow. The January nasty weather that moves in house and settles down. “Long relationship” snow that wants to be part of your life until the leaves finally pop open on the trees.

It’s here. Today. I haven’t seen a storm of this intensity in several years,. Between two and four inches falling per hour and no matter how you look at it, that is a great deal of snow. In fact, as Harvey Leonard said last night on Channel 5, “More snow than we’ve seen for a very long time.” The good news? It doesn’t look like it will become a nor’easter. It’ll come, blast us with winter … and with a little luck be gone before midnight.

We didn’t drive down to visit Tom and Ellin. They’ll be doing their own digging out and if we have an ugly driveway, they have a driveway that’s far, far worse. And much longer. More like a road than a driveway.

We had planned to go visit two weeks ago, but it snowed. Immediately thereafter, we got two weeks of glorious sunny weather. Tee-shirt and grab-you-fishing-rod weather. And then, literally the day we were to go and visit … snow. Nothing small. A big snow. Major full-scale snow.

Nasty evil white stuff.

I was up at five to discuss going out with the dogs. There wasn’t much on the ground, maybe an inch or two. I had a brief, shining hope we weren’t going get the rest. Maybe we were on the edge and it wasn’t going to be such a big deal. An hour later, I heard the dogs bark. They had taken themselves out, which was good. When I tossed them outside earlier, they’d done the “out and in” game where they go out, count to five, and come back with cookies on their breath.

“See mom? We went out! Cookie?” I cookied them. Back to bed, but not to sleep. I read for a while, drifted off, then when they barked, I saw that they had really gone out. Garry was up a little while later, did the same, and he too went back to sleep.

While we slept, the big snow arrived.

No “edge of the storm” stuff.

No “Oh, it could be worse,” stuff either.

The real deal now. Heavy, hard, icy flakes. Our windows are covered with water and the wind is blowing to beat the band. Huge oaks are swaying overhead. And it won’t last long.

It can’t. Sure we’ve gotten snow as late as May. I think once in June, too. We’ve had snow as early as September which is terrible for the autumn leaves. It means there won’t be any autumn leaves. They just fall off after that making a muck on the ground. This is winter’s last blow, the final fury of a season being driven out by another season on its way in. A mess for a week or two, but by April, it will be gone.

I’d like to say that this strange weather is all part of the weird weather of the changing weather pattern, but that would be untrue. Our weather has always been unique. While I was glorying in summer weather in the middle of February, Garry had one eyebrow cocked.

“Don’t trust it,” he said, carefully keeping his boots where he could easily find them. He has lived here long enough to know. Winter ain’t over till it’s over.

Now, it is almost over. Really. This time for sure.


Photo: Garry Armstrong

It was snowing. Pretty hard. We could get 8 or 10 inches before the day was out.

It won’t last.

It’ll sit on the ground for a couple of days until the bitterly cold weather goes away. After that, maybe another day, then whoosh, gone. Spring snows don’t hang around and become part of the furniture. Not like January snows do.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It was pretty odd this morning, though. Shows you how I’ve stopped watching news even when it’s something I should know.

I got up at around 5. Looked out the window and said WTF?  I shook my aging gray head, and went back to bed. An hour later I got up again. I had  that uneasy feeling of a household with dogs and snow falling. It’s not that the dogs don’t like snow, but they really adore the sofa. Snow is cold. Snow is wet. The sofa is warm and dry.

I threw the dogs out. This involves a running battle with Bonnie who goes down one single step at a time. Looks at me, pleadingly.

“GO OUT!” I say again, and down she goes … one more step. Another look. We do this for all six steps, and then — at the doggy door — she gives me a final, haunted look. I persist. She goes out and the two dogs have a rollicking good time because they don’t really mind snow. Once they are outside, it’s just fun and games in the fluff. The whole tortured trip down the stairs is a way of playing mind games with us.

That was when I thought about The Car. We had slipped back into parking it down next to the house. The normal thing to do, unless snow and ice are expected. So, on a sort of whim, I turned on the computer. Big note from the Boston Globe (to which we subscribe, thank you) that it’s beautiful “up here” — meaning Boston — but if you live anywhere below the Pike (Route 90) or anywhere else down south, it’s a whole other story.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

For such a little state, Massachusetts has a busy weather department. Down here, it was snowing and would keep snowing until late in the day. Maybe collecting as much as 10 inches.  And, the story continued “With bitterly cold weather coming in tonight …”

I sighed. Shook Garry. Asked him where he left the car. “Down by the garage,” he said. Note that the garage isn’t a garage. It’s a shop and a small storage room, so the car lives in the driveway. I told him it was snowing and I hated to bother him, but …

He got up. Put on the pants,  boots, vest, coat, gloves — and moved the car to the top by the road. We should have paid more attention to the weather last night — I’m sure they mentioned this — but the news is depressing. We listen to as much of it as we can handle, then move on to other things. Mostly murder mysteries. I decided we were NOT getting snow. Period.

We got snow. It will be gone in a couple of days. The earth is warm from the past few weeks of almost summer weather.

There will be a lot of chilly, wet spring days when it appears nothing is happening at all, but the buds will grow fat. A day will come, maybe around the end of April or early in May. Suddenly, it will be GLORIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL. Everything will burst into flower and the trees will go from bare branches to full leaf between late morning and early afternoon.

That’s when the caterpillars will show up.

I wrote this before the prediction came up that next week will be just as bad as this one. Worse, actually. Nonetheless, when all is said and done … we’ll still have caterpillars eating the trees.