Hey,, Old Man!


First snowfall of this winter just severe enough to transform views from our windows.
  • A few weeks after Santa Claus arrived in town on a fire truck, Old Man Winter blew in with a bit more fanfare, dumping 5 inches locally on top of a small ice storm.  Enough to make our sandy hills difficult, and the steep driveway almost impossible.  Predictions now are for more flurries and a string of extremely cold days and nights.
  • This was thick white stuff, coating trees’ limbs with more depth than the still relatively warm ground.  Good for making snow creatures (even OMW is learning to be PC.)  Still more beautiful than annoying, as the first appearance of snow always is.


Lovely blue harbor is clear of boats and buoys and fringed with remnants of last snowfall.
  • Anticipation of a snowstorm is shared by young and old _ and few in the middle.  Those who wish to have no school and who have nowhere in particular to be on any given day can glory in the possible disruption of routines by slippery or impassible roads.  For those fortunate few, first flakes are eagerly awaited, and the hush during the event enjoyed immensely from the warmth of their living rooms.
  • After any significant accumulation, a quiet beautiful white coating has transformed the world.  Often the sun, accompanied by a cutting cold breeze, sparkles on lacy branches and blanketed evergreens.  Snowplows struggle by.  In a few hours snowblowers will crank up. But for just a while, the local universe gleams new and pristine and lovely and all good things seem possible.


Salt meadows have turned gold, accented under dark blue storm clouds.
  • The driveway’s lovely, dark, and deep …
  • My environment, alas, does not match that of Robert Frost


Patrol craft heads into frigid waters, trees finally stripped to bare branches.
  • People seek omens.  We find ones that support our views and interpret them to match our own outlooks.  So while the weather has been warmer than normal, everyone who is concerned about global warming claim it was a precursor of what will come.  When unexpectedly harsh winter storms roll in early, those who fear the coming winter claim this proves it will be a blustery one. 
  • The key to weather perspective is “average,” that fictional normal.  We accept that winter must be colder than summer, that there is a range of “usual” storms and temperatures, that any given day may differ considerably from what happens around it.  But nature is never average.  It delivers its effects in clumps rather than a smooth gravy, and we are too immersed to keep perspective.


The beach is in full winter mode now, ice on deck, people stopping by for a few minutes at most.
  • Winter wonderland may last for two or three days, but then it turns into winter slum.  Car exhausts darken roadside snow, puddles gather trash and refreeze into ugliness.  Patches of muddy ground show through crusty slush.  The tree branches, of course, are long bare and back to looking forlorn.
  • Early in the season, this tragic change happens quickly and all returns to normal.  But by February there is an ongoing glacier of disposal dump everywhere, blackened shapes rule former snowdrift, and all the new layers do is temporarily hide the nastiness beneath.  Even driveways become corroded with sand and salt in an often vain attempt to keep cars from slipping around during trips to the garage.  By then, of course, all thoughts have longingly turned to spring.


Second snowfall of the week coats the neighborhood, just before the third storm arrives as temperatures remain in 20’s.
“Where has all the food gone,” asks a first-year cardinal of another.  “It always used to be here.  Now there is just this … whatever it is.”
“Snow,” answers an older brother.  “This white stuff is snow.  You’ll see a lot more of it soon.”
“But what about finding something to eat?”
“Oh, now is time to look on trees.  You’ll see, there’s a lot to feast on.  Well, at least for now.”
“What do you mean by that?” asks the little one anxiously.

“Never mind,” replies the other.  We’ll both find out soon enough as months go on.”


Outside lights barely penetrate heavy wet snow after another few inches wear out winter’s immanent arrival.
Old Man Winter, he brought snow
Caused the harsh North wind to blow
With a knick knack paddy whack freezing to the bone

Old Man Winter came roaring home.

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