We got snow... functional snow... Amazing it took this long, considering it's mid-January in the Midwest.
I woke up early this morning, and even though it was dark out, the moon was bright enough that there was that cool glow in the bedroom that lets you know, EVERYTHING is covered with snow.
It's also so very quiet...
Until snowblowers started up about an hour later.
When I first got up and let the dogs out, I had two thoughts... 1) I'm thankful I don't have to pee in a snowbank. And 2) Why is it that the first thing a dog will do in snow (after peeing) is stick its head into a snowbank?? I often imagine them breaking through to the other side of something that only they know is there. We assume it's dirt, a mouse, or dead plants, but I'm guessing there's something else going on, and only the dogs are hip to it. I'm not that curious though to give it a try.
This was looking out the front door in the wee hours, thundra... lots and lots and lots of orbs. One of them appears to be saying, "STOP!", but they didn't... they kept on coming... covering vehicles... 2 of them.
We had lots of thunder and lightning last night as well. I think it was announcing the arrival of the orbs... 20+ inches of orbs...
I noticed a red-tailed hawk perched on our neighbor's fence again. I directed the Youngest Lamblet's attention to it. She's home with the pukes and has been spending a boring day on the couch. While we were watching, it flew into our oak tree, Rufus. It was originally named Rufus because we thought it was a red oak. It seems it's a burr oak. Anyhow, it was grown from an acorn and has been babied by Grizzled for the past 7-8 years, and is now around 10 feet tall, and is large enough to merit the perching of a hawk. Awesome.
Our next door neighbor died a few weeks ago. His wife told us she knew he was going because a hawk had been circling their house. I remember seeing that and remember it sitting on their fence the day he died. Of course the YL remembered that conversation as the hawk perched in our tree and asked me if I thought this was bad. I told her it's only bad if you're a rodent... with the snow making your chances of "blending" very unlikely.
We sat in the living room and stared at the hawk that was only about 12 feet away as the hawk stared back,twisting its head while picking up our slow movements. It stayed there for about 5 minutes and then headed off to a taller tree for no doubt a better view. Tonight, some squirrel spouse will tell her neighbors that she knew her husband was going to die because she saw a hawk circling their home...
Here's another photo from this morning. It's blurry as heck because I was standing outside without a coat, holding the damn camera above my head. I merely wanted to document the color of that sky. Again... awesome. It also made me think:
Red sky at morning, sailor's fair warning. Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
Well, they just issued an evening snow/sleet warning.
Lights are a touchy subject with me... Christmas lights are no different. I'm picky. Not so much about the shape (well, ok, yes, I can be), but it's more about the warmth, the tone. I'm a yellow person... and while I love blue for some things, fully believe in blue for many things, please don't put too much blue or purple in my lighting. Grizzled knows this. Grizzled has long been trying to get us switched over to compact fluorescents and knows he's walking the fine line of my lighting needs. Too blue?? Too purple? Too COOL!!! Well, it makes for a cranky me. I can't help it. I'm sensitive to light. I have specific requests due to the use. I need something more like daylight for painting. I need those happy fluorescent in the laundry room (I don't generally like fluorescents, but these are happy ones and Grizzled knows not to vary). I like warmth in the majority of my household... good old incandescent warmth... even if it's faux.
I even need it in my Christmas lighting. A number of years ago we noticed more and more LED lights popping up. Some look really fun. I can also get behind their reasons. I understand the savings, I understand not wasting fossil fuels to power a month of frivolity. I can understand it. Can't they just make them a little warmer? I mean even the white ones are COLD... and BLUE! Look at the regular Italian light next to the LED light and you see cream vs cool blue. I can deal with some blue, just not all blue... or if you're going to go blue, really go BLUE!
The LED lights I've seen a lot of have been these jewel-tone monstrosities that aren't even holiday colors. Now granted, I live in a 50's house that looks perfect with those old fashioned C9's in cream, yellow, orange, red, green and blue. Some would say orange is not a Christmas color, but it still works. I love those lights on this house... it's decade-appropriate and it makes me feel a bit like I'm living in a crab shack. But they're a power draw and they don't sell them as much. Grizzled has been trying to gently nudge me over to the LED side. It's just almost all of the LED ones I've seen are jewel tone! They aren't green, they're an emerald green verging on teal! Teal is an 80's color, not a Christmas color! And don't even get me started on PURPLE?!?! They include purple in the string! Yes, purple is a liturgical color for Advent so I should be able to understand that, but my eyes don't... especially when it's next to teal... and a red that looks more like magenta... Those are not the colors of my holiday... those are not the colors of my crab shack...
Flash forward to Black Friday... we had agreed that we would try the LEDs and that Grizzled would do his best to work with my color needs. He went out to Home Despot in the wee hours just so he could score the huge roll of LEDs that was left. I got up that morning... Grizzled was off somewhere else at that point and I saw the 80's roll of colors on the table. What took place next was me telling myself I could live with them for a year... Grizzled's been through a very rough stretch recently and was still trying to meet my Christmas lighting needs... I could do it. I could put up with this... for a season.
In comes Grizzled. "So? What do you think?"
Me: "AHHHHH! They're wonderful, but AHHHHHH! Were they out of rolls that didn't have teal and pppppurple?? But they're fine... even with purple..."
Grizzled said they were out of the other rolls, this was it. He said he thought they still looked happy. And they did, but I told him they looked Easter happy, not Christmas happy and there was a difference! Later in the day, Grizzled tiptoed out, took them back and tracked down a bunch that were less "blue" and had no purple, no teal. I could live with those. I thanked him profusely. We'd put them up and give them a try.
We did... last Sunday... in the middle of a snowstorm. We missed one of the warmest Novembers on record and were putting up lights in the middle of a snowstorm, but it was fun... and when we saw the lights later that night, as we were driving back home, Grizzled said, "They're too blue. Next year we go back to the old ones."
-13 this morning. I've been out twice... once to take the dog out, and again to free the garbage can from its icy prison in order to move it to the curb. It amazing how loud everything is when it's that cold. Everything makes noise when it moves. I've got to go out in about an hour. I just hope the car will move.
Correction: I was just informed that Snag's tit is still colder, coming in at -21.
I grew up loving winter, loving bountiful snow, which is a good thing considering I grew up in an area referred to as "The Buckle on the Snowbelt". When the first big snow would fall, usually in early November, I would be giddy with delight. My mother would respond with, "Wait until you have kids... and places to drive." I didn't think that would harsh my snow-mellow and until last year, it didn't.
Last winter was harsh on an existential level. It was one of those that grabbed hold of your vulnerable spots, made you drop to your knees and cry, "UNCLE!!!" I don't even think I realized how bad it was until we moved into a truly miserable spring and there was no mental reserve left, just raw nerves and angst.
It was with these memories so fresh in my mind, that we moved into yet another cold, unyielding season. The snow has been overly-generous, the cold, cold enough to remind you that most of what we call, cold, is really not cold at all. The fluctuations we've experienced are wide enough to remind you that we're all walking on the edge of bipolar, weather included. But even for all of this ratcheting up, this winter has not been as dark as last winter. This winter has instead been a curiosity, inviting my observing eyes and my sense of intrigue. Yes, there have been highs and lows, but lows are tolerable.... as long as you don't have to stay there.
This morning, as I was returning from driving Grizzled to the train, I was amazed at what was going on outside. It's snowing like mad, the temperature is plummeting and I felt very in tune with it and was thinking I was thankful, in some odd way, that it was here. I've never wanted to live in a 2 season place for two long. There are days in March that this sounds attractive, oh hell, I usually hate March all together, but for the majority of the time, I love the changes and the extremes a season can bring... even gray, damp, chilly March. I would be a more boring person if my personality were only defined by summer. I would be more insane if my personality were only defined by winter. I like the fact that I'm being formed by them all. I'm also thankful that during this winter, I am able to take the ride it's offering and not be swept away to scary places by its undertow.