“Blah,” said Toad

– Posted in: Weather

(Anyone who doesn’t know what that means has missed out on the best children’s books ever written. For proper pronunciation, you should hear Arnold Lobel say it.) As far as I am concerned, we have now reached the worst part of winter (and winter never starts to get better till it ends). It’s not so bad in November and December. There’s still warm days, and sunny days. In January? Hah. And, whilst you are stuck in the house with people you got tired of 20 days ago, you get to be cheered by the thought that there’s only about 45 more days till the snows start melting, give or take a few weeks. That’s when you start saying “Blah”.

Yesterday looked like it was going to be different. Yesterday, the sky was a brilliant, deep, rich blue, and the sun was twice as brilliant as it ever gets in the summer. It looked perfect to be outside, a chance to get some much needed sun and fresh air. All I needed to do was toss the bread in the oven, but I couldn’t do that for about another 30 minutes. As winter would have it, it clouded completely over in those 30 minutes. But I was determined to get out of the house anyway. So I layered up and headed out.

Let me tell you, whoever wrote “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” never had more than a few inches. First of all, you don’t walk, especially not uphill. You have to march, lifting you knees so you don’t have so much snow to drag your feet through. Well, it’s more of a trudge, because you can’t possible go quickly through knee-deep snow. Okay, it’s an absolute trudge, certainly nowhere near an enjoyable, relaxing little “walk.” And it isn’t always knee-deep snow, either. Because of all of the wind, the snow has filled in all the uneveness, meaning, of course, that sometimes the snow goes up the middle of your thigh. Try “walking” through THAT!

So while you’re trudging uphill through knee-deep snow, one must also be grateful that it’s a toasty 21 F. I mean, with the wind like that, you couldn’t be out in temperatures much lower than 21 F, at least nowhere near comfortably. And it’s dreadfully cloudy and dark, even though it’s 11 o’clock in the morning. Walking in a Winter Wonderland? I don’t think so. It’s a cold trudge through a dreary, depressing, barren wasteland. Even the birds had the good common sense to stay quiet and in shelter. “Here to stay is the newbird”? Give me a break. We usually just get a flock of starlings at our bird-feeders, and there’s nothing new about starlings, they’re a year-round pest. The air wasn’t even fresh. The only difference between the air in my room and the air outside is that the air in my room was hot and dry, and outside it’s cold and dry.

That walk was one of the most miserable walks I’ve ever taken in my life. But, there was some good out of it, as there always is. I was very, very glad to be back in the house, which is a nice change from being absolutely sick of the house. But I’m still just wishing spring would hurry up and get here!!!

About the Author

Talitha spent the last few years doing an absurd combination of work and school, and found it wasn’t very pleasant. Now she’s doing work, school and a garden, and life is a little better! She also enjoys photography and hand feeding her ducks. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: herbs, vegetables, cutting garden, cottage gardening

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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