November 11, 2014
WINTER COMETH IN THE MORNING…
Snow. Storm. The Winter King has arrived halfway between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice. Of course, here in the Northland, he’s pretty much expected anytime once the cutouts of jack o’ lanterns come down and the pictures of Pilgrims and turkeys go up.
My husband, David, took a photo yesterday while shoveling and posted: “Winter, embrace it or move!” He took photos and brought in wood for the fireplace. I made gingersnaps, soup and bread. Today we went skiing.
FaceBook was full of postings today about the weather and the snow–love it, hate it, celebrating it, forgive it. There were pics of cozy fires burning in wood-stoves, people baking cookies and gathering to watch movies.
Of course, there were also the sad reports from those who crunched their cars skidding down hills, hit the ditch spinning out on icy highways, nursing strained muscles from shoveling. Then there were the disappointed folks who missed classes and meetings and dates. Shops whose sales were bleak and empty tables at the restaurants.
My nephew, Nathan, was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. Growing up he visited relatives in Minnesota every summer, but only a few times did he come in winter. The first time he was six years old. His four year old sister thought all the trees had died. Down at the park that they played at in the summer Nathan was awestruck by the fact that the water in the river was hard and we could walk on it. “Where did all the turtles go, and the frogs?” he wanted to know.
Fast forward a dozen years. He and I are driving down the steep hillside of Duluth, snow piled up on the boulevards. “You know,” he said, “one of the things that is so weird about you guys here is that you’re always talking about the weather. Everyday. Constantly. Everyone comments what it feels like, good or bad, or what it’s going to be like tomorrow. You even have channels on TV just for weather!”
“You don’t discuss weather in Bogota?”
“But you have weather reports on your news programs, right?”
“Nope. Nothing. I never heard people talk about weather until I came here.”
“Huh. Wow. Is the weather so boring in Colombia?”
“Pretty much. It’s always the same. We have rainy season and dry season. Temperatures vary a little. But not too much changes.”
Of course, Bogota is also full of flowers. Everyday. All year. Looking out my window this morning the neighborhood is frosted with white. Not a sprinkle of lacy powder, but the eight inch thick stuff, piled, drifting, blowing. Two days ago there were swaths of gold and burgundy mums in my garden. Shrubs still sported red and yellow leaves mixed with the fading green. The mountain ashes held their scarlet berries up against a brilliant blue sky. The birch had shed their golden leaves into piles on the still green grasses, their white barked limbs glowing in the sunlight. Some apple trees up the road where I went walking, though naked of leaves still held golden apples. I ate one; still sweet and crisp. It was the last of Autumn, the colors bravely holding their own as the season slowly faded.
Two days later it’s a black and white world. The only natural color: some red berries, russet leaves clinging hard to a few trees, the green of pine needles the blue sky.
Yep, we Northerners talk about the weather. No two days quite the same, interesting and full of surprises. Up here Nature is constantly busy parading the cycle of life through our midst, keeping us on our toes, flexible and changing. To be truthful, most of us wouldn’t have it any other way!