Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Topsy-turvy and backwards

If I have ever lived through a winter that had gloomier weather than this one, I can’t remember it. Truly, those “Twilight” vampires could live here and cavort at high noon without a getting so much as a blister.  This morning at 7:30 a.m., I had to wake the chickens up to feed them.  My oldest chicken, One-Eye the Pirate, didn’t even come off her perch for a while.  It was that dark.

This time of year, the overcast sky means it is too dark to take a photo in the forest before I leave for work. So I head out of the cover of the forest, and usually the open sky over the fields and orchards next to the mountain offers enough light for a photo. Not this morning. I drove 7 miles and it was 8 a.m. before the sky brightened enough to grab even a dark photo of distant cows.

One-Eye isn’t the only avian resident that seems to be affected by the constantly dark skies, though the wild birds seem affected in odd ways.  A Carolina wren was singing this morning at 5:30 a.m. under a streetlight at Roundtop, as were a few bluebirds.  Meanwhile, a great-horned owl hooted nearby even as I was leaving for work.  It’s not every day I hear an owl backed by a chorus of bluebirds and wrens.  Even at midday the light is more like dusk than day.

The clouds are heavy and dark. Today, the gloom is ahead of a spate of the dreaded “wintry mix” that will fall later.  The term simply means that forecasters don’t know what will fall from the sky. In this area, it usually means that every kind of precipitation known to weather will drop, possibly even all at the same time. With a forecast like that, even a few minutes of freezing rain can cause treacherous driving conditions in the morning.

Here at work, my colleagues and I are already planning to lug our work laptop computers home so we can work from home if the roads are extremely bad in the morning. That prompted one to remark that the surest way not to get freezing rain is for us all to take the computers home, as the forecasts never amount to much whenever we do this. I can only hope.

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