Winter finally arrived last night here along the riverbank.
Of course yesterday's high was an unseasonable 43˚F, with sporadic light rain throughout most of the day. But the rain changed to snow an hour before dusk as temperatures dropped. And when I got up this morning, the thermometer read a brisk 14˚F, and we've only gained three degrees since. Burrrrr!
The snow didn't amount to much, maybe half an inch. But still enough to whiten the ground and give the squirrels an excuse to chase each other around when they finally roused themselves from their snug bed in the hollow sycamore, and followed the tree-top trail over to the cottage to check out what sort of breakfast I'd provided.
Now, the feeders are busier than they have been for months—possibly as far back as late-February or early-March of last year. Our lack of winter—or what might prove to be a late-starting winter, though I think we'd better give it a week or two before proclaiming it officially in session—has kept the usual feathered crowds thinned considerably.
Today, however, the birds are coming in. Still not as many as I'd expect, nor do they seem as frantically hungry, practically mobbing the suet, sunflowers seeds, and cracked corn. Maybe it takes a day or two for word to get out. Or it could be today's wintry intimation is as suspect to the birds as it is to me, and they're also adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
The snow continued all morning, and is going still, though it's mostly just the same flakes blowing around in white swirls. I don't think there a millimeter of additional accumulation. The weather service claims some of these gusts will reach 40 MPH—which should certainly make for a nasty windchill. I'm going to dig my parka out of the closet and go for a tramp along a nearby trail, just to enjoy this tardy bit of seasonally-appropriate weather. There's nothing like a cutting wind and some ice in the eyes to make you delightfully miserable.
Maybe a short winter walk will also cure the ennui which seems to have afflicted me recently. Since the first of the year I've been tired, lazy, and, for no good reason I can discern, bored by most of the usual pleasures—given instead to staring out the window at the river, or sitting by the fireside scribbling at poems and listening to darkly complicated stuff by Hovhaness, Orff, and Glass on the CD player. I haven't written because I didn't think I had anything worthwhile to say. This post doubtless proves that point.
Yup, a breath of winter may be just what I need…