February 4, 2015

Loving Nature... Even In Winter

First challenge - large drift at the back door.

“I love not man the less, but nature more” - George Gordon Byron

Now that I am away from almost 10 years of mild west coast winters I can honestly say that I missed snow. While we lived on the ocean we had about 3 snow events that didn't last much longer than 24 hours before mild temperatures vanished it all away.

During our first winter it snowed. I asked our landlord if I could borrow a snow shovel. He didn't have one. He offered me an oar. I laughed and a few hours later the snow had melted.

Winter in Nova Scotia has been quite different even though we are still close to the ocean. Instead of sea level, now we are on a ridge at the highest point in the county at about 100 meters. It snows a lot up here. A lot. And I am loving it.

I can snowshoe right from my back door into the wild forest. It is great not to have to drive to find a place as nice as I have found right in my own backyard.


First I cross a windswept open field - windchill is at its highest here, about minus 21 C today.




As soon as I enter the forest there is no wind. Just heaps of snow.




Planning a route through my winter playground.




Pristine, puffy pillows of precipitation piling up perfectly.





Just me and the snowshoe hare, deer, chickadee, downy woodpecker, and grouse resting in deep holes in the snow.





After an hour and a half of heavy hiking it is time to follow the trail and the sun back across the field.




Back home again - watch out for that drift. More snow in the forecast. Yah!

12 comments:

  1. Very well said.
    Terri

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    Replies
    1. Looks like I only got the quote first in email yesterday, now I see the accompanying photo journal of your outdoor adventure. Beautiful photos. Enjoyed immensely.

      Clamo, is this your first winter in the deep south? SAD can be quite debilitating. I find it helpful to be in the sun as much as I can. That is a problem when there are days and days of overcast and motivation to be outside is lacking when one has SAD. Various amino acids might help too...in a gentle way. (phennylalnine and tyrosine--work with it to find right mgs for you, varies from day to day, might be half a capsule one day and two capsules another day, might not take it for a few days, then back on it.) Much empathy as you make your way.

      Finding a new location to be something different than expected sure can be disappointing adding to SAD symptoms.

      I live in the Carolinas, but am not from here. I read a lot of blogs and most are authored by folks that live in the north. I love the stories of snow and northern winters. I too am cold most the time! I almost feel guilty for feeling cold when many in the north are living with much lower temperatures. The average winter high temperature here is 50 to 55 F degrees! We do have a few days that barely get over freezing. It gets into the 20's at night here.

      I love learning about how people in different regions are living with their weather. Thanks Gregg for sharing so much about your experience in your new climate!

      Here in the Carolinas when we get a nice covering of snow, maybe 4 or 5 inches maybe once or twice a year, we have to get real creative with our improvised sleds. One year I went out with some kids in the neighborhood and took cardboard to use to slide down the hill. Now, when it snows, kids show up at my door asking for cardboard and if I can come out and play! We also use plastic tub lids for sleds. Our southern sleds are a lot of fun!

      Terri

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    2. Terri, This is my second winter in the south. Last year was the polar vortex when we got freak ice storms here. Yeah. Just my luck. Funny because the day we moved out of Pennsylvania, I declared (much like Scarlet O'Hara), that "I'll never be cold again!" Well, it didn't work out that way. When I'm cold, I sort of go dormant and don't want to do anything except huddle under a blanket. I need the feeling of warm sunshine on my skin. We used to vacation in December in Orlando and it was always 80 degrees and sunny. I think that's what I expected in Alabama. We're only 8 hours from Orlando so I didn't think there would be such a big difference, but there is. I know that in the blink of an eye it will be warm again and then very hot and humid until October, so I guess I will just deal with the cold a while longer until the change happens. Thanks for your comment. :-)

      Delete
    3. Terri,

      You didn't miss anything - I had a case of premature publication. Actually, your comment alerted me to the fact that I had published the post before its completion. Thank you.

      Delete
  2. Pretty pictures. I have to say I'm disappointed that the Alabama winters are so cold. It seems wrong to have morning temps in the 30s and no snow to accompany them. It's like an endless northern November here this time of year and my SAD is acting up. One of the main reasons I moved here was to escape that feeling. Apparently I did not move far south enough. I'm cold all the time. I think it's because of the higher humidity. The trees are bare, the grass is brown, not at all what I expected winter to be when I moved here. I have to admit, (and I never thought I'd say this) the snow looks pretty. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Clamco,

      My worst possible winter would be really cold and no snow. I grew up on the Canadian prairies in an area that could see mild temperatures throughout winter. The area was semi-desert so even when it did snow it was usually not enough to ski or snowshoe on - but just enough to make roads and sidewalks messy and dangerous.

      Then I moved 500 km north and that made all the difference. Deep, dependable snow all winter long. But the amount of daylight was even less than in the south of Alberta, so it was a trade-off.

      Sometimes we think that Uruguay would be south enough, although Florida sounds nice.

      Delete
  3. Love nature ESPECIALLY in the winter! Snow is nature's beautiful winter coat!

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    Replies
    1. Charlotte,

      It is one of my favourite times of the year. Everywhere there is less activity, things move slowly and it is so quiet.

      Delete
  4. Our drift at the back door wasn't quite that high, but it did take some doing to get it open. Today the sun is shining and the snow looks as though someone glitter bombed our yard. Of course it's pretty to look at, but it does make me more homebound than warmer weather. I've learned to enjoy each season as it comes and just this year have marked something each day that I've noticed in nature.

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    Replies
    1. Miss Marla,

      Our back door drift is even higher today after yet another dump of powdery snow. I love the glitter bomb comparison - so appropriate. It is sunny here today so glitter abounds.

      Getting out is more difficult, however. We did not have to contend with snow on the west coast so could come and go more easily. Now it is difficult to get Linda out even with an accessible home and a van with a lift. She says she doesn't mind being an "indoor cat" for a few weeks... or months, but I would like to get her out more often. Sometimes appointments mean you have to be able to leave your home.

      This is all new to us as Linda was still walking the last time we lived in a snowy place.

      You are wise to take time to notice a bit of nature every day. Some are out in it daily and see nothing, so who is better off?

      Delete
  5. Your photographs are beautiful and being able to snowshoe in such unspoilt countryside must be amazing. I admit I tend to react with horror to the least bit of snow! We had a very, very small amount of snow the other day - eeek! It was gone by mid-morning - phew! Some of my reactions come from the past I realise. Snow might damage your house and you have to find the time and money to pay for repairs. Driving to work is difficult etc., etc. I don't have any of those things in my life now so I try to react to the weather as it comes and enjoy it all. But it is difficult to get rid of past attitudes. "Grown up" attitudes if you like. As a child I would react to the snow with such glee. You lose this happy attitude as you get older. I shall try and regain it! Frances.

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  6. What beautiful pictures! Living on the shores of Lake Erie, we have heaps of the dreaded lake effect snow - somewhat less now that the lake has pretty much frozen over, but plenty snow nonetheless. However, this is the first year that I have actually looked around and noticed the beauty of winter. And boy, am I ever getting healthful exercise from shoveling my driveway! Snowshoeing is becoming more popular here - our local metroparks have snowshoe rentals available, as well as classes to learn how to use them. Since there is A LOT of snow in our forecast, I think I might be learning a new skill! And of course, once spring is here, I will somehow forget all of this and concentrate on the thousands of dandelions that will be springing up all over - no matter how severe our winter, nothing keeps those plants down! (And yes, I do think they're beautiful - and tasty.)

    Sophie

    ReplyDelete

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