Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Just Like Old Times. Sort Of.

Big heaps of snow!  Below zero nights!  Icicles almost reaching the ground!  We haven't had a winter like this in what seems a long, long time.  It reminds me of our first winter in Saratoga Springs, back in 1971, a year whose records for snowfall and cold have not been broken yet.  Even though we had come here from Michigan, I had never known such a cold and snowy winter, and I really loved it!  Of course I was then in my 20s, and we lived in Skidmore faculty housing, where guys from Buildings and Grounds came to shovel the walks or repair the roof that caved in from the weight of the snow, and we didn't have to pay for heat, so we cranked that thermostat up to a true comfort level.  Now, I'm in my 70s, and I and my husband have to shovel that snow despite aching backs and shoulders, and we had to pay big money for guys to come knock the ice dams from our eaves so the water would stop running down our inside walls and dripping from our upstairs ceilings, and our house is so cold we have to wear longjohns and polarfleece even indoors.  But I still love it. Sort of.

Yes, the discomforts of winter mount as we age, but I still love that sweet cold air and the silent beauty of a snowy woods.  Today I had that woods all to myself as I snowshoed around Mud Pond at Moreau without seeing another soul.

I was glad, however, that others had been here before me, tamping the knee-deep snow in the trails with snowshoes and skis, so I could proceed with relative ease, rather than exhausting myself wading through untrodden heaps.  No wonder I saw few animal tracks today.  I think the poor creatures must hunker down until hunger drives them out to hunt, daunted by the effort it takes to travel through deep snow.

That snow was truly beautiful, though, flashing all the colors of the rainbow today.  I had to darken this photo and enhance the colors in order for my photograph to reveal them, but I could see these technicolor sparkles with my naked eyes, and they were dazzling!

At one place, the texture of the snow changed from tiny sparkling points of light to these large flat flakes covering the surface.  Just in one spot, close to the south end of the pond.  Odd!  I wonder what atmospheric event created flakes like this.

I loved the stark contrast of Sweet Fern branches dark against the pristine snow, and the muted shadows cast by a cloud-veiled sun.


catharus said...

Great post! Oh, yes, I love it too!
Lovely photos!

The Furry Gnome said...

Great pictures of the snow sparkles! So hard to capture that with a camera.

Walking Man said...

Very nice! Great photos! Glad you are making the most of the cold-it's nice to see someone else that appreciate the nuances of an old fashioned winter!

suep said...

ooh rainbow snow, I remember how we tried and tried to photograph what was so vividly right before our eyes -- some people still don't believe that it exists, I will point them to this blog from now on !

Janevins said...

I enjoy your blog so much! And I envy your access to hills and rivers. So glad you are able to get out in the snowy woods and share them with the rest of us.

Your photo of the snow sparkles is beautiful - that's a challenging subject! The big flakes in your second photo look a lot like fallen hoarfrost I've seen on a still morning, when it just drifts down from the high twigs in broad flakes. All your photos are wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thank you, dear friends, for these and so many other of your kind comments on this and previous posts. You make me glad I pushed myself to head out on a cold day when my impulse was to curl up next to a fire at home. But the rewards out there are always more than compensation for the momentary discomforts. I wish I could capture those snow sparkles in all their magical twinkling beauty. My photo is barely a shadow of how exquisite they truly are.

Split Pea Traveler said...

Love that fourth picture. How gorgeous and full of peace. Enjoy!