Normally we in New Hampshire can say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” But it seems we’ve plunged into a lengthy cold spell, and every day is pretty much like the one before. It’s either snowing or about to snow, and temperatures struggle to creep into the teens by day, not quite topping 0 at night.
We plow and shovel and sand and snowblow. We go to bed with our driveways scraped clean, our walkways wide and snow-free, and our oil fills easily accessible to our intrepid delivery folks. And then we wake the next morning and start all over again.
This is Ground Hog Day. All we need is Bill Murray.
I like snow. 😀 I especially like this light, fluffy snow that’s easily moved and doesn’t weigh down the trees and isn’t likely to cause power outages. I like wading (or sometimes swimming) through powder. I like the bite of cold on my cheeks and the warmth of good snow pants over insulated jeans over fleece liners over silk long johns. I like snowmobile boots with toe warmers stuffed inside wool socks.
And I like feeding the birds. We have blue jays alongside red bellied woodpeckers alongside cardinals and titmice and goldfinches and red polls and chickadees and downies and juncos, all happily stuffing their beaks, close enough that I can see the feather vanes and almost touch them. This never happens in the summer. The birds stay largely out of sight unless you have lots of time and patience and high-powered binoculars.
This is partly because hey – they have plenty to eat in the summer. It’s also because winter is the only time we can safely feed the birds. If we’re fool enough to leave our feeders out past tax day, the bears will come to call. They might even break a window in their eagerness to take down a full feeder, and worse, they might injure themselves.
But in the dead of winter, bears hibernate, and we get to see the birds. This year, thanks to ongoing construction, I’m using my old refrigerator as a feeder.
The last storm was especially fun. Jim and I decided to wait until the snow ended before we plowed. We took an entire day to lounge around and be lazy, watching snow pile up while we had ourselves a movie marathon. And what happened?
Neighbors showed up to plow us out, assuming that we must be sick, or our tractor must be broken, or maybe we were dead and somebody ought to get the bodies hauled away before we started to smell bad.
Because that’s what it’s like here in New Hampshire. We look after each other. We’re family. And we’re stronger united than we are alone.