Winter, Spring, Winter, Spring? 

Despite my eagerness for spring to arrive and stay, it doesn’t want to cooperate with my wishes. In the area of Upstate NY where I live we keep having nice, spring days, then winter days then spring again. It’s a constant yoyo of weather and difficult to keep up with.

This past weekend I took a little road trip to a different part of my state and on my drive out and for the first day, the weather was cold and winter-like. Then on my drive home Sunday the sun was shining and it was warm and spring-like. It was also March when I left and April when I came back so the weather coordinated with that.

Yesterday and today’s weather has been decidedly spring-like with sun, clouds and periodic rain. The temperatures have been in the 50s and 60s and the birds and peeper frogs are singing with increased excitement for warmer weather. Unfortunately, temperatures are supposed to drop again the next few days as winter tries to hold on.

I took Jazzmin for a nice long walk this morning when the sun came out on what was supposed to be a rain-filled day and it was so warm I didn’t need a jacket. A few hours later though the weather changed again, rain returned and now there’s a chill in the air. The forecast for next week looks promising with 50s and 60s but we have to endure the last remnants of winter just a bit longer. One thing is for certain, I’ll be savoring every moment of spring once it finally arrives for good!

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Marching Into March 

Yesterday was the first day of March and it started off overcast but pleasantly mild. Hoping to avoid the predicted rain showers, I took Jazzmin on the short hilly walk right after breakfast. Although the clouds were thick, it was warm enough to walk without a coat and it didn’t start sprinkling until we were almost home. On our walk we were treated to the sight and sounds of a large group of turkeys in a field. I always enjoy seeing the males all puffed up as they try to attract the females.

Once back home and freshly showered, I expected to hunker down inside for the rest of the day and work while it rained outside. Mother Nature had other plans though as the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. Not one to waste such beautiful weather in the midst of winter, I took Jazz for a second walk, much to her delight! 

I spent a bit more time outside taking care of other important tasks because I knew the forecast was calling for a drastic drop in temperature the next day. Sure enough, this morning dawned with temperatures in the teens even though it had been 50s with I went to bed the night before. Such extreme temperature changes ushered in by ridiculously high winds seem unfortunately normal these days.

It was too cold to walk Jazzmin even once today and I ventured outside as little as possible but I know the weather will rebound eventually. March is a temperamental month as if it knows that everyone is eager for spring and it wants to hang onto winter a bit longer. Regardless, the world around me is starting to reawaken as spring nears and I’ll take it one day at a time while looking forward to warmth and new beginnings. 

The clarity of low visibility

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Low visibility looking down the big hill

The very wintry weather lately has made it difficult to walk Jazzmin but with all the roads plowed today, I decided it was time to set boots and booties to snowy road and take a walk. Once my girls had been picked up, I changed into my walking clothes, got Jazz sweatered, backpacked and bootied up and headed out.

It was lightly snowing as we walked carefully down the driveway to avoid slipping on the ice below the most recent dusting of snow. Once safely on the salted and slightly snowy road, we easily found our pace and the fresh, chilly winter air felt wonderful to breathe in. By the time we reached the end of my road, the light snow had turned into big, heavy flakes and shortly after turning left onto the next road, the snow changed again to a mix of fluffy flakes and tiny snowballs.

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Light snow shortly after we turned onto the second road

I wasn’t sure how long of a walk we were going to take, but I enjoyed the tranquility of the snow and crispness of the air so much, we kept going right up the big hill. The snow got progressively heavier as we walked and the visibility became quite low, but as I was walking, I didn’t mind at all. It would’ve been a different story if I was driving, but when I’m walking I can see exactly where I’m going and don’t have to worry about my car tires slipping or sliding. My boots and Jazz’s booties had no problem keeping traction as the road and our bodies became coated with snow.

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A very snowy Jazzmin

When there weren’t any cars driving by, it was very calming listening to the falling snow. The air was still and the limited visibility from the heavy snowfall helped bring clarity to my mind, heart and spirit. Walking always helps recharge me and quiet my hectic mind as the fresh air fills my lungs and the exercise works my muscles. By the time we reached the top of the big hill my thighs were mostly frozen, my hair was coated with snow, my glasses were wet and foggy and Jazz wasn’t exactly thrilled to be covered in snow, but I was still smiling and she was still trotting along.

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Jazz trotting along

I’ve said this before but it still holds true, taking a walk when you’re down, confused, anxious or worried can do amazing things! It does amazing things when you’re feeling up too, but when your mood really needs a boost, get off your butt and walk! I know I’m glad I did and it helped remind me how resilient, strong, determined and amazing I am. With my pup beside me and a path before me, there’s nothing I can’t handle!

Embracing Silence

My sturdy little plum tree stands tall through the wind and snow!

My sturdy little plum tree stands tall through the wind and snow!

Weekends without my girls are always much quieter than weekends with them. I miss the sound of their voices filling my little house and the unique conversations we share. It used to be that I worked very hard to fill every silent moment with something. I feared silence because silence meant I was alone and I didn’t yet understand the difference between being alone and being lonely.

I used to text friends non-stop or write long emails just so I’d feel like someone was hearing my voice, even if I never said a word aloud. Filling my time with that type of mental noise drove the feeling of loneliness away but it was only temporary because I didn’t know how to be okay alone. It’s taken me some time but I feel I am all right alone and that I can finally embrace the silence and use it to center myself.

What I’ve discovered as I step further away from the texting and the emailing is that there’s actually no such thing as silence and that when I stop to listen, I’m never alone and have no right to feel lonely. There are people in this world that know me and care about me and should I need them, they’ll answer my call. There are also higher powers in this universe that are always with me, just waiting for me to discover the right way to hear them. The only way to truly listen is to be silent.

Snowflakes dancing in front of my back pine tree.

Snowflakes dancing in front of my back pine tree.

Despite the occasional gusts of wind outside making my wind chimes sing, tonight has been very quiet. A slow snow is falling so I decided to go outside and take some pictures. There is great serenity in the sound of falling snow. While the wind can roar, howl and moan, snowflakes descending from the sky are blissfully silent when undisturbed by winter breezes.

When I wasn’t crunching through the snow in my boots, I enjoyed the soft whisper of the falling snow when I’d pause in my yard to take photos. The light from the distant ski hill offered enough of a glow to help me navigate in the dark and my flash made occasional bursts of white as I snapped pictures.

My bird feeder collection and the remnants of summer's last sunflower.

My bird feeder collection and the remnants of summer’s last sunflower.

While winter will never be my favorite season, I’m learning that fighting it, complaining about it and disliking it has no power and only leads to frustration. It will take time, just as learning to embrace silence took time, but I will eventually find a way to embrace winter and truly see it as another beautiful example of nature’s humbling magic.

My little mosaic solar light on the deck railing.

My little mosaic solar light on the deck railing.

The Clarity of Cold

The view from my deck this morning.

The view from my deck this morning.

Winter isn’t my favorite season. If it only lasted from December 1st to say, January 15th I’d probably love it but alas it seems to last 6 months in Upstate NY. I don’t ski, snowboard or snowshoe. I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as a snow bunny. I’ll go out and play in the snow with my girls and I enjoy that. The first snowfall of December and the promise of a white Christmas is lovely too. Otherwise I feel like snow’s main goal is to keep me huddled inside under a blanket, covered with animals.

The first real snowfall of the season started falling here last night. By morning there was a thin blanket of white across the landscape. Jazzmin was ecstatic to frolic in it and sniff snort through it trying to find familiar scents in the grass beneath. Jordan thought it was pretty but too cold. Jaycie was very excited to see the snow and wanted to play in it but with wind chills in the teens this morning, she changed her mind. I was happy I’d already dug out my winter boots and coat so I wouldn’t slip down my deck steps on the way out to the bus stop.

Today was one of those confused winter days where it was sunny one moment then snowing and blowing the next. Mama Nature was having fun shaking her snow globe today! None of the new snow accumulated though and the skies cleared enough to reveal a rather pretty sky after the sun set. Even so, I admit that the sudden presence of snow made me a bit grumpy.

When I took Jazz out for the last time tonight, I stepped onto my deck steps, looked up and was greeted by the sight of the half-moon. A smile immediately lit my face and in the clarity of cold and moonlight, my mood instantly lifted. It was as if the moon was telling me that everything will be okay, that even in the darkness and cold, light is always shining. Sometimes even I forget that but thankfully the powers that be are kind enough to remind me.

winter moon

Falling Back, Not Behind

I had to install the WordPress app on my Android so I could keep my November blog streak going. As I’m writing this on my tiny phone keyboard, it won’t be especially long.

I’m not fond of the whole falling back time change. When my girls were babies they’d be grumpy for a week following each time change. They didn’t sleep well and therefore neither did I. Nowadays they deal with the time change better than I do. It gets dark early, turns colder and I just want to hibernate.

I don’t have time to hibernate though. I can’t control the whole falling back thing but I can keep myself from falling behind. It might take drinking more coffee and tea than I usually do but I’ll persevere! I have work to do and future trips to New England to plan, I can’t afford to slow down now.

The good thing about the time change is that it gets lighter earlier in the morning…for a little while at least before the days grow even shorter. I’m more of a morning person than a night owl so the earlier sunrise certainly helps. It’s also comforting to know that this winter I don’t have to brave the snowy winter roads driving into a job that doesn’t fulfill me. My office is safe and cozy inside my home which means I will be too. I can write about warm, exotic destinations while the snow flies outside my window. Times like those are when my endless imagination comes in very handy!

I will eventually adjust to falling back and stop dozing off on the couch at 7 pm. Until then, caffeine and lots of lamps are my friends!