Well, the cabin fever has set in. It usually overruns me in February which is normally why I head south. If I could choose any month to nix among the four seasons, it would be February, but this year I’m toughing it out. Not without consequences, however, like maintaining my sanity for one. I find myself flashing back to Don McLeon songs …
“Starry, starry night (only I sing snowy, snowy night) …
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land.”
And snowy it has been. Not one, but several blizzards, and I do mean the old fashioned kind of blizzard with inches of precipitation per hour out-snowing even the north country plows and a drift in my driveway up to four, no five, maybe even six feet high! Literally, snowed in, but I guess I will be in shape for digging in the garden this summer by shoveling the snow this winter. It has been the kind of snow one needs to shovel just so the snow blower can blow. Knock down, drag out drifts, now all shellacked in ice from the recent rain/snow mix. That shellack is particularly hard on wildlife I contemplate (hard crust or ice covers snow on my Cornell Project FeederWatch tally sheet), but this white out snowfall earlier in the month was wondrously beautiful – a lake-effect snow which is usually observed on nearby Tug Hill Plateau and not here, closer to the river. Just now, I think of a friend who recently caught a glimpse of a shadow gliding over the snow in a nearby pasture and looked up to see, yes, a Snowy Owl.
And then there is a line from American Pie that repeats itself over and over in my head …
“… But February made me shiver, with every paper I’d deliver.”
These icicles from my second story window made me sh-sh-shiver. Brrr.
My bluejay gang has a few more members – I saw five of them all at once stopping in for their peanut treat when normally there are two or three. The word on the peanuts is out. There are at least two titmice who now also regularly visit the “peanut bar” (which used to be my back deck railing, but is currently the frame for a hopefully-soon-to-be-all-season-window on our new back porch). And then there are the three amigos – crows – now perching on the fringe, as close as they dare to the peanut bar. When it is really cold I put peanuts further out on some of the tree stumps as they are very cautious. They don’t miss a trick. They really are quite striking against the “snowy linen land.” Even the squirrels are getting squirrelly. I have seen more of them, more often this past week.
The weather forecast is warmer, 30’s (°F). Warmer nights, too – double digits! Last year I wrote on my calendar that a robin was singing on the morning of Feb. 28, just three days from now. I can’t wait for the snow to recede and reveal what is underneath, but it is semi-snowing/raining now and in a last ditch effort to save my sanity, I’m going to switch out Don for Jimmy and “Turn Up the Heat and Chill the Rosé.” Then again, I may be shooting holes in my freezer.