Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010

Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010
Photo by R.E. Berg-Andersson

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowed In

It was bound to happen. First, came the three inches of snow to shovel, then an arctic air mass that swept down and froze the snow into a slippery mess. Now, a major snow storm predicted to bring anywhere from five to 12 inches to my little town.

I hate winter.

My husband (MH) was glued to the Weather Channel for nearly a week before the snowstorm arrived. 

There was a time, believe it or not, when storms just happened. Now, with all the technology there are predictions, then refinements of predictions. When the meteorologists were monitoring the approach of Hurricane Sandy last year, it saved lives. With this snowstorm I am sick of all the information. Just let it snow and be done with it!

I see the bird population at my feeders triple in a day and they are in, literally, a feeding frenzy. That's how I know something bad is coming. I don't need the Weather Channel to tell me.

Cardinal pair (Margo D. Beller)
I am in a funk. After a spring, summer and autumn of running around to see birds or working in my garden, it is dark by 5 pm, it is winter and I am housebound. 

When I worked in an office that required me to take the train to get to it, I had to leave the house. I had to walk in the streets because they were better shoveled than the residential sidewalks, step around large piles of leaves if the snows came before the last scheduled leaf pickup, bundle up against single-digit wind chills and, at night, hope the oncoming traffic could see my little flashlight as I walked the streets home.

When I had a job requiring me to drive, I exchanged one group of winter weather dangers for another -- icy roads, drivers texting or talking on their phones, speed demons, and trucks or SUVs that hadn't cleared off the tops of their vehicles so the snow or ice came at me like projectiles.

I don't miss those days. 
Brown creeper (Margo D. Beller)

However, I do miss getting out of the house. Until the recent intense cold froze the snow from the first storm, I was walking every day for the paper, sometimes via the edges of Greystone. But in the last week, when I discovered a whole lot of people who had sidewalks "imposed" on them in the last year hadn't bothered to shovel -- does anybody get fined for not shoveling anymore? -- I have taken advantage of MH's kind offer to get the paper while he runs other errands with the car.

Ah, winter. I find it harder to deal with you with each passing year. Now that I work at home I have to balance keeping the place warm vs. the expected high cost of my gas bill. When the sun isn't shining into my office window, it never seems warm enough. The local growing season is over and I am dependent on produce grown in California or Mexico or points south, if I want to so indulge. 

But who wants a healthy salad on a cold day when a more fattening but warm bowl of soup tastes so much better?

Winter hiking (R.E. Berg-Andersson)
I can't open the windows to air out the house because of the cold, and the heat makes it -- and me -- too dry. I try to compensate with a humidifier, hand cream and a vanilla-scented candle, all of which will be put away when winter is finally over.

Were I more like the chipmunks that wreak havoc in my garden -- the only creatures not deterred by my deer netting -- I'd be under my warm quilts, curled up and asleep, working off my accumulated fat. I would let the world go by until it is warm and sunny again.

Alas, I am not a chipmunk but a human with bills to pay and obligations to keep, starting with keeping my feeders filled for the birds. They have it worse than I'll ever have. 

I know it eventually will warm up out there. It just seems to take longer to get to that point.

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