I knew Old Man Winter was coming. Last week meteorologists were predicting that he would travel through the Midwest and dip down into the southern states, arriving just in time for the weekend. Tapping into the resilient ways of my northern upbringing, I was prepared. FD and I had stocked up on deer feed, bird seed, and corn for the squirrels and deer. I spent much of last week mulching the flower beds and shrubs, putting the roots to bed for the winter months. I harvested the horseradish and the last of the tomatoes. I carried a few remaining pots of flowering geraniums and snapdragons to the back porch where I would cover them on the frosty and freezing nights. Already a month ago I telephoned the propane fellow to deliver our first fill of fuel for the winter. Portable bottles of propane awaited use in the well house, just in case the power went out.
So, I was not caught off guard when the bitter, old man made his hasty appearance here yesterday afternoon. I was down in the canyon, filling the wildlife buckets with feed and cleaning up the water tub a bit when I felt change in the air. A northerly blowing in is a magical phenomenon and something everyone should witness. Noting a dark blue hue emerging rather quickly in the northern sky, I knew his arrival was just a short time away. The woodlands held its breath for a few idyllic minutes before WHOOSH – the frosty chill hit the landscape. Old Man Winter blasted through the trees, stripping the branches of the last colored, dangling leaves of autumn, hurling them around until they finally found rest on the woodland floor. The native grasses seemed to shudder as they leaned to the south, giving way to the cold, biting wind. I shivered in my light jacket, and headed up the slope to the house to retrieve a heavier coat. The temperature dropped steadily and by late afternoon, the woodlands had been cloaked in a cold, gray cast and no sign of wildlife stirred down below the slope.
Today Old Man Winter’s friends, Sleet and Ice showed up as well. A tinkling shower of frozen matter was the only sound to be heard from the back porch. Tough little birds of winter frequented the bird feeders and a few scampering squirrels could be seen moving about. Daisy deer and Spirit showed up at the feeders, and by the time FD and I carefully maneuvered our way down the slick slope to meet them, we noticed a young seven-point buck, along with Scarlet and her twins back in the woods. Much gamboling, chasing, frolic and of course EATING ensued for the next hour. Finally, we bid Daisy and Spirit farewell. I was about frozen numb by the time we reached the house and, my digital camera was behaving in a sluggish manner. Rain and cold are not friends to a digital camera!
As I sit inside our warm and cozy home, I look out of the windows and see that nature is alive and thriving with the arrival of Old Man Winter. While I am not equipped to endure his sometimes harsh characteristics, I do love him for the beauty he creates as he whirls, dances and blows around North America this time of year. I enjoy his friends, Snow, Sleet, Ice, Rain and Wind… as long as I do not have to be out with them for long. I suppose like the wildlife here, who seem to get a boost from the cold temperatures and change of season, I too get a bit of a charge out of the blustery days and chances of frosty precipitation.
Moving south more than 20 years ago, you could never have told me I would miss the winter conditions I grew up tolerating in Nebraska. Though I am better suited for and prefer the hot summer climate of Oklahoma, I find that I am always ready to welcome Old Man Winter when he comes. And perhaps he is ready to be here in the south for a spell too. Maybe his weary, cold bones can use a bit of southern warmth from time to time.
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…