Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Back Woods

I just can’t get used to this non-winter weather, though I am starting to try. I am used to a short period after the leaves fall when both the weather and surroundings are a nondescript brown. But before too long, the after-leaf drop time turns to winter with snow, sleet and cold weather. In the past, I have probably ignored this in-between stretch of brown simply as something that doesn’t last very long and is a necessary prelude to the actual arrival of winter.

However, this year the in-between nondescript brown stretch has continued for 6 weeks. At first I simply ignored it, assuming it would soon go away. It hasn’t. Now, I feel that I should deal with it, explore it and try to find something nice to say about it. I’m not finding that last part very easy.

This long stretch of in-between weather has been mostly gray, rainy and/or muddy, and it just doesn’t feel right. The closest comparison I can make is that is similar to early April but without the promise of daily seeing new plant growth. I keep waiting for something to happen—waiting for it to get colder and turn into winter, waiting for it to get warmer and become April. I don’t usually have to wait this long for something to happen in the natural world.

So last night I was out and about simply trying to notice more about what was going on around me. And I still don’t think I’ve gotten a handle on it. In many ways, despite the temperature, it is still winter. Raccoons are mostly hibernating, not because it’s cold enough for that but because they’re supposed to be doing that now. The great-horned owls are calling, which they would do in any event. They start nesting in February, and this warmer weather, if it lasts, might actually be good for the survival of the nestlings. The winter feeders birds are here (if not vulturing over the birdfeeders as usual). For them finding natural food easily is probably beneficial to their survival. For me, well, it is still brown outside (but the heating cost is lower).

I wonder if the animals feel, in any way, as I do, that despite some benefits this weather simply isn’t right? So in the end, I am left with the notion that this long in-between period is simply odd. Around me, nature is trying go on with its business as usual, though not much about this is really usual.


Cathy said...

It doesn't seem right up here either. I did have snow flurries all day Weds. Which was wonderful when the sun shining too. However I have this feeling we'll be paying for it later on. Can't rule that the snow might come with vengence later on.

Carolyn H said...


I'm about half expecting winter to kick in at any moment and continue well into April. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. And my worst snowstorms have always come in March.