Thursday, February 3, 2011

After the Storm

Well, we didn't get walloped, not like much of the country did. And luckily, all of our precipitation (aside from a momentary mistiness) fell in the form of snow, not ice. So we got off easy, with only about 10 inches of nice new snow. And today dawned cold and clear and dazzling. Beautiful! This is my kind of winter, the kind I remember from the first year we lived here. That was the winter of 1970-71, with record cold (near 30-below for nights on end) and record snowfall (more than 120 inches) that haven't been matched since.

We lived that winter in Skidmore faculty housing, a 13-bedroom mansion on Union Avenue, which we rented for $100 a month, all utilities and maintenance included. Maybe that's why I have such fond memories of that winter. I could turn up the thermostat all I liked, and I didn't have to shovel the snow. At one point, the bathroom ceiling caved in from the weight of snow on the roof, and the Skidmore carpenters came right away and fixed everything at no cost to us. Here's a photo of that house. It's now a private home.

As I recall, though, I didn't get outside much that winter. With a five-year-old child, a two-year-old toddler, and a newborn baby, I just couldn't cope with all those snowsuits and missing mittens and runny noses. Now I just have to cope with my own missing mittens and runny nose, so I'm making up for lost time, spending as much time in the winter woods as I possibly can. So today I pulled on my snowpants and boots, etc., and went to the woods near the river. A spectacular view rewarded my efforts.

And believe me, it sure was an effort! Even with my biggest snowshoes, I sank down nearly a foot in many places.

I feel sorry for the forest-dwelling animals who have to struggle through this deep, deep snow to find their food. At least this fisher was light enough to stay on top of the snow.

Not so, the coyotes, whose heavier-footed trails criss-crossed the woods in seeming multitudes. They soon moved to the frozen river and its much-lighter covering of snow. From the trails that they left, they seemed to be having a party out there. Is it mating season now? I wonder what they were doing that scraped up this snow?

Huffing and puffing my way through the woods, I came upon several examples of "snow boas," where snakes of snow start to slide off of branches and hang there in mid-air, as if by magic.

As I might have said back then in the 1970s: Way cool!


Ellen Rathbone said...

Look at all those lovely snow snakes draped on the tree branches!

catharus said...

'Sounds like an awesome day!

June said...

I have seen drapes of snow like that on the tops of snowdrifts, but I haven't been out in the back country to see them on tree limbs. SO glad you showed them to me!
BTW, stay out of the Adirondacks for a little while; I understand DEC is warning of avalanches!

suep said...

snow boas ! look out below!
--uh oh June, now that you've told her about the avalanche warning,
Jackie will WANT to go up there ...

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed at how the snow can balance and stay on the branches like that, very cool! :)

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks, friends, for taking the time to add your kind comments. I'd love to have you all come along to the woods with me. And Sue, you're wrong about me and the mountains. I don't mind a little risk, but I do hate climbing mountains: all that work for a view that loses its thrill after a few minutes, and then hours of agony to get back down.