Sunday, March 5, 2017

Winter Over Was Wishful Thinking

There are areas of flooding all over the south eastern portion of the state right now.
Large swaths of farm land and homes and streets all underwater as I write this.
It has been a long winter, filled with more snow than locals have seen in more than 40 years.
It wouldn't have been quite as tough of a winter if it had simply snowed (and snowed and snowed............and snowed) from late October until late February, and had then simply all started to melt away.
Instead, by the first week in February we found ourselves (surprisingly) facing temperatures above freezing during the day and temperatures below freezing at night.
Days battling melting snow and then ice formation overnight.
Melting.  Then freezing.  Then melting.
Rinsing and repeating over and over.
And just as we finally felt that we had a grip on the melt, it snowed again.
And then a few days later snowed some more.
It's been a mess and continues to be a mess, but slowly (one day at a time) we are getting a grip on these very earliest days of the impending spring.
Pictures of the back yard.
Although much of it has melted, we still have three feet of snow covering the ground...................
One day last week it snowed all afternoon and overnight, and  left 8 new inches of snow on the ground when it was all done.
As I watched Kory happily prance and dance in the snow I looked at the snow in front of the house.
If I didn't shovel it away it would all melt and seep into the mudroom intent of making its way to the living room, so I knew that it was time to shovel.
We'll be on the hunt for a snow blower before next winter.  More shoveling happened this winter than LC and I want to even THINK about.
But this snow was light, dry, inches deep instead of feet deep, and after the long winter we have had the effort to clear snow away this time seemed effortless.
Almost effortless.
While Kory danced, while LC cleared off the vehicles, I grabbed my hard working snow shovel and went to work intent on moving it far enough away from the house until we could get the city to move it across the road to the empty lot...................
With the snow shoveled I made a grab for Korys' leash and together we wandered through town.
It was a mild day.
Just below freezing and in reality it hadn't been COLD cold in many weeks.
The funny thing about this winter is that I had expended so much physical energy on snow shoveling that I had actually spent less time cross country skiing that I did last winter.
All work and no play is making for a dull girl these days.
But on a beautiful, quiet and mild day it was nice to wander with my dog................
A couple of days later I took Kory for a walk to the four potato silos that are located on the outskirts of town.
My singularly focused dog has spent the entire winter bunny killing at these silos.
I have spent a good part of the winter trudging through a mostly snow-covered secondary road waiting for my pup to find a rabbit, break its neck, make her way through the deep snow of the field where the silos silently stand watch over the desert (with dead bunny in mouth), and then watching her proudly trot her way back to the house with her treasure.
There are dead rabbits buried or partially buried all over the back yard as I write this.
One day soon (when they are all finally uncovered in the melting snow) LC and I will have to scoop them all up, drive them out onto BLM land, and toss them.
A free meal for the coyotes.
But throughout the winter my dog has been single mindedly focused on rabbit hunting...............

On this late afternoon it was cold, clear and very windy, and as Kory and I headed for the silos I quickly realized that the light, dry snow was drifting across the roads, quickly filling in the space that the snow plows had created just a day or so before.
I was still making my way to the silos but Kory was already there and already in stalk mode as she hunted her next prey, and I was suddenly mesmerized by the drifting snow.
It was quickly covering the road, and the wind was so strong that the drifting snow across the vastness of empty BLM land looked as though it was a flowing ocean.
Waves of frozen white crossing the vast ocean of empty land that surrounded us, and it was compelling to watch.................
The next day, Kory and I walked again.
Turning left from the house, we walked down the road a short ways and turned left again.
As we headed towards the large ugly single wide that residents refer to as City Hall I absently watched a resident claim his mail from the bank of mail boxes that stand outside City Hall.
Still not giving the man much (any) thought, I watched as he climbed back into his truck and headed towards the back of town.
I knew that when he reached the end of the road that he would turn right, winding his way towards home.
Only.......he didn't.
As Kory happily sniffed and marked around the mail boxes I watched in surprise as the resident backed his truck all the way back to where I was standing.
Finally finding enough room to turn his truck around, he smiled and waved to me as he drove by.
Well........THAT was strange.
Gently pulling on Korys' leash I finally wandered beyond City Hall and the mailboxes and (without giving any consideration to where we were walking) we turned right.
As soon as I turned the corner I stopped.
Completely startled...............

The road was gone.
Completely gone when only the day before, it had been a newly plowed and easily passable road.
The drifting snow had covered the road again with three feet of snow..................
When I got to the back of town I was again startled by the sheer volume of snow that had drifted across the road.
The entire road was like a slalom course - four feet deep rises and falls the entire length of the road, making it completely impassable to vehicles.
Gingerly testing the depth, Kory and I ventured onto the hills and I was gratified to realize that the snow was hard packed and easy to walk on.
It was the first time that I had ever walked on such an up and down, rise and fall, heavily snow packed road, and I enjoyed the newness of the experience.
And I finally realized that any idea I had about winter being over and spring being right around the corner was nothing but wishful thinking....................
Our back yard as seen from the road.................
A day later the snow drifts had been plowed yet again.
A never ending cycle this winter.................
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade................Charles Dickens (1812–1870), Great Expectations

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