Ice and Snow

New England in winter is a land of ice and snow.  Sure, there’s all that other stuff here, but when you live here you’re always aware of these two things that encroach on your daily routine more than anything else.  Want to double or triple the time it takes you to get to the office?  Add ice and snow.  It’s the one thing New Englanders never get tired of talking about.  Well, that and sports.

This morning we got a dusting of snow.  Maybe half an inch of fluffy white snow.  Nothing for us, especially on February 1st.  Now on April 1 we might think half an inch of snow was psychological warfare, but we wouldn’t even bother shoveling it.  You do the math when you live in New England.  Snow in April will go away quickly.  Even the crocuses would laugh at half an inch of snow in April.  Back in February this barely registers.  Just brush of the car and move on, right?

The wild card with this snow was the ice underneath it.  Snow is a headache but we know it well.  Ice is our other headache, and we deal with it.  Put ice on top of snow and you get a nice crusty treat that my dog Bodhi loves to snack on during our walks.  Crunch & munch the entire walk.  He’s never met a crusty snow bank that he didn’t love.  Add a little road salt and he’s in heaven.  Ice on snow can be beautiful as it glimmers in the sun.  You aren’t making snowballs out of this stuff, but at least it’s nice to look at.

Ice and snow in reverse is a different story.  Put a half an inch of snow on a patch of ice and now you’ve got a minefield of comic, sometimes tragic proportions.  Add a slight decline and the magic happens.  Slip-sliding, arms waving, eyes-widening magic.  Caught unprepared, snow on ice let’s you know quickly who’s boss.

I feed birds.  I don’t feed them in summer, when they have plenty of food.  Mostly because I don’t feed bears.  Do we have bears here?  Maybe.  I’ve seen or heard almost every other kind of wildlife native to this area.  So bears are a possibility.  But in February they stay indoors bing watching Netflix, so I feed birds.  Birds bring motion, color and life to the frozen landscape.

The bird feeders are on a pole out back where the lawn meets the woods.  I realize having bird feeders close to the house would allow me to see birds close up.  That’s nice.  Mine are farther away.  Out beyond the snow covered ice.  Filling bird feeders back there is like going north of the wall.  You need to be prepared.  Dress for success.  I was dressed.  I felt prepared.  I neglected to wear my micro spikes over my boots.  Turns out I wasn’t prepared.  I wasn’t dressed for success.  And so I brought my own motion, color and life to the frozen landscape.

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