I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Winter's Last Gasp

I woke up this morning to a fairly thick snowstorm outside my window, and when I let the dog out, I saw upwards of two inches of snow on the steps. Course it looked deeper so I went out and measured it.

It's well into April; last gasps are supposed to happen in March, or well most of the time they do. March was beautiful. Clear skies, cold nights, and warm days. All this week it has been clear skies most of the time, warmer nights - most of them barely getting below freezing, and very warm days reaching well up into the forties during the day. It did try to snow once a couple days ago, but it was scarcely enough to give a white dusting noticeable on various dark objects and gone by the end of the day.

This is the time of year when I dread going outside, even to go to the freezer. The path to the freezer is still three feet deep in snow. I know this because I broke through the other day and was suddenly sitting on said path, and I don't recall my foot touching ground.

This is the time of year when the packed part of any trail becomes narrower with each sun's crossing, when all the tree trash blown out of the trees over the winter has started eating at the snow, creating a choppy surface sure to twist the ankle of any unwary creature. And now that I think on it, this is why moose, and other assorted bovine-type creatures, have the leg structure they do. Mother Nature long since created them to be able to walk most anywhere without twisting an ankle.

Now that there is a brand new layer of snow over those trails, twisting my ankle is more of a certainty. Fortunately, my excuses for going outside are few and I'm very familiar with the hazards, so the worst that will happen to me is that I fill my shoes (again) with snow.

I wear my shoes most everywhere, most any time of the year. I put my winter boots on when I know I'm going to be wading around in snow for an extended period of time. Even if I'm wearing my snowshoes, I prefer to wear my shoes. Back in November, when I was packing the runway the hard way, I was wearing my shoes with my snowshoes. Though I might not have developed blisters if I'd worn my boots, neither would I have managed to get most of that runway packed in one day. The only other time I wear something other than my shoes is when I start walking to work and have to wade across a muddy spot along our trail. Spring runoff creates a small creek, and when the ground thaws out the mud seems bottomless. That's when I wear my husband's knee-high waders, at least until I get to the boat. These poor things, made by Timberland, have covered a lot of distance on my feet over the years, and if ever I see another like them, I'll get a new pair. They've spent their fair share either in the oven over night or hanging over the wood-stove drying out after I've filled them with snow once too often and they start feeling soggy.

It's hard to say how long this snow will last, not long I'm sure, but the white will slow the melt and cover the ugly for a little while anyway. Spring is the ugliest time of year. Things are no longer white, draped in winter's glory, nor are they green, bursting with summer's promise of bounty. Even fall's colorful glory is by far prettier than spring.

But such is the time of year. Now is the time when I start thinking about accumulating enough water to make it from gathering the last of the snow to collecting the first of the rain or going to work, whichever comes first. Now is the time of year when we should be gathering firewood, but with my husband's seemingly constant migraines, it looks like that may not happen this year. Weather change, be it good or bad, and even if it misses us directly, gives him a bad headache and running a snowmachine, not to mention the chainsaw, becomes a painful prospect for him. Aw well, we may still get out there - there's still plenty of time, and now maybe just a little more.

Back last October I posted a spring rant I'd written on my other blog, before this one existed. There I talked about the ugliness of spring in town, sad really. Out here I go out of my way to pick up my trash, any trash wherever I am, even going off out into the brush to pick up what a bear drug off. Last fall, on one of my last trips out with the boat, a friend tossed a soda can on the beach. Sure, it wouldn't have been there come spring, but out of sight does not mean gone. So what if it's somewhere else. So what if it ends up at the bottom of the river crushed to an unrecognizable lump of aluminum. So what if it will cause little damage in the grand scheme of things. It is trash and I won't litter up my world. I picked up that can and tossed it in my boat. I don't know if my friend even noticed, I didn't say anything to him. But another friend there saw and noticed the entire thing. He smiled. Even here at home I'll pick up after my family. A couple winters ago my son was out here. He and my husband both smoke (trying to stop), and at the time they had cigarettes with filters (store-bought cigarettes). Their habit was to stand outside and smoke (giving me a break), and then flick their butt somewhere in the snow. Roll-your-owns I don't worry about, heck, I don't even find them come spring, but cigarette butts are another thing. When I started picking them up by the handful (almost), I started hollering. I believe in taking care of my world the best I can. Too bad so few people feel the same.

Do you take care of your world? Make me feel better about spring; tell me how.


Anna L. Walls said...

Just an update: Over the last 4 hours, 6 more inches of snow fluff has accumulated. We'll see how much we get.

Roy Durham said...

do you have any quaking asp or aspen trees, have your hubby cut him some toothpicks or a twig and suck on them , won't spot the migraine's but it will take the edge off to where he can do the thing that need to be done. believe me it works personal experience. and you can have this snow back i don't want it. lol

dk levick said...

'the ugliness of spring' never heard that before. Something to think about. Spring is the renewing of the earth - rebirth - new life. We tend to focus on that and not notice the residual 'old' life that shows itself at the same time until summer comes and covers it over.
Is it fair to call Spring ugly? ONly because it's left with the left overs of past summer and winter? It's trying to erase all that and start anew.
The world is a beautiful place. But there is always some housekeeping to do, isn't there? We need to take the inconsiderate humans who trash and abuse our world and clean them up some.

Anna L. Walls said...

Well, dk, maybe it's not fair, but the ugliness up here hangs around so long, almost long enough to qualify as it's own season. The time between the end of winter and the beginning of the renewing and regrowth is at least two months long, and even then, things are only just beginning to turn green. How long does the fall season last? First frost in late September starts the trees turning but here snow is on the ground by the end of October. The beautiful spring you speak of explodes into full flowered summer within two or three weeks, and by July berries are ripening and most flowers are done. By August the last of the berries are ripe and the only wild flowers left are the fireweed, nature's time-clock ticking to first frost. When the last fireweed blossom drops, it is six weeks to first frost - I've timed it - it's pretty darn accurate.

Sharon and Sophie casley said...

Hi Anna

I admire your stand I have tried to make sure my Sophie never throws litter, the only stuff I will let her off with are the remains of apples,and pears and the like for these are bio-degradeable and hey maybe for every apple core tossed into the verge just one tree comes to fruition it is another plus for the planet and the ozone layer.

It gets a bit embarrasing at times though if she sees someone throwing stuff down she will run and pick it up behind them and take it to them and direct them to the bins, or tell them to take it home with them. No-one has ever been abusive so far more likely they have been embarrassed to be caught littering this lovely countryside we call home.

So all you folks out there wherever you may be, remember Sophie may be watching you? Don't throw it away and risk the wrath of a nine year old on a mission, bag it and bin it in the right place, I believe you Americains call them trash cans, us Brits dustbins,and the French Poubelles, whatever they are called for your rubbish that's the place to be.

Sharon and Sophie Casley, France.