Cold Landscapes

I’ve been writing. A lot. I’m working on The Wolf Book, but also…

…a Kindle Vella project. A series of stories. More on that in a future post.

For now, I’ll let my local landscape – and my dogs – provide the content for this post, illustrating how quickly the scenery changes in this “shoulder season.”

On November 17th I awoke to four inches of fresh snow. Oh boy!

This morning – after a day of warm temperatures and rain yesterday – the snow was mostly gone. Insert sad emoji here.

An hour after the dogs and I finished our walk, it started snowing again. Yay!

And so it goes, as autumn and winter argue over which season gets to dominates the landscape.

First, let me show you the snowy landscape. So pretty!

Plastic-wrapped round hay bales strewn across a snowy field.
Hay bales – “marshmallows” – wrapped in plastic, “litter” the field where we walk. November 17, 2021.
A set of deer tracks across a snowy field.
Fresh deer tracks. November 17, 2021.
Dogs in a snowy field.
Warm snow (when temps are just below freezing) sticks to the boys’ fur and forms balls of ice between their toes. They stop periodically to chew them away (as Conall’s doing in this photo).
November 17, 2021.

It’s deer hunting season now, so we stick to the open fields, and Conall is once again wearing his Do Not Hunt Me vest.

Two days after the joy of all that snow, this soggy, partially-frozen, but mostly bare-of-snow landscape emerged. Beautiful in its own way, especially where ice was forming.

A pond in a field, one end frozen with some snow on the ice.
A partially frozen pond with the warm hint of morning sun beyond the trees to the left.
November 19, 2021.
A dog rolling on a patch of snow in a field.
Finn rolled on every patch of remaining snow we found! November 19, 2021.
Ice formations among reeds in a pond with a thin layer of ice on top.
A different pond in the throws of indecision: to freeze over, or not? November 19, 2021.
Close-up of ice formations among grasses in pond.
These ice formations were like veins among the grasses growing at the edge of the pond. The wind was blowing, and when the water moved, so did the ice, like blood pumping through veins.
November 19, 2021.
Some ice and some dogs. November 19, 2021.
Close-up of dead grass fronds blowing in wind.
Close-up of dead grass fronds blowing in the wind, highlighted by morning sunlight.
November 19, 2021.
Sunlight through tree trunks highlighting dead grass fronds.
What that same scene looked like in real life, without my Pixel 3a phone’s “portrait” setting.
Not sure which I like best.
Dogs waiting in field near row of trees.
The boys, waiting patiently while I crouch to take close-ups of dead grass fronds.
Oh, look, blue patches in the sky! Sunshine is a welcome commodity here. November 19, 2021.

These photos provide a glimpse into why, when I decided to leave Idaho, I knew I needed to land in a place with four distinct seasons. Okay, maybe six, or eight seasons, if you count the shoulder/mud seasons in fall and spring, and the fake autumn and fake spring. But seriously, to be able to watch the seasons transition across a landscape? A joy and a privilege.

Everything changes, if you pay attention.

It’s never boring.

Feature image: following the boys as they set their own tracks in the glittering snow on the morning of November 17, 2021.

24 thoughts on “Cold Landscapes”

  1. Ugh. Hunting season. My daughter’s forestry prof dropped the students in a state park earlier this week without telling them it’s hunting season. Her group of four wandered onto some private but unposted land. The land owner approached them with a gun and began to berate them for being in the woods without orange and for trespassing. He also told them that he watched them through his scope for a while. Dear season starts here next week and my mountain bike opportunities drop by 86%. I find the whole thing obnoxious. They should have to kill deer on private land.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And, let us not forget: hunters are a small minority of the population, yet they have managed to embed laws and constitutional amendments protecting their “right” to kill animals in various states. This must change, just as laws allowing slavery, racism, sexism, etc., have had to change. We left the 19th century behind a long time ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Things are heading the other way in Pennsylvania. Every year there’s massive lobbying to open hunting to Sundays and last year they designated three Sundays as hunting days. Luckily I live close to Maryland and can still hike, run and bike there. It’s absolute BS.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great images. Love the video of the pond. That Pixel portrait shot too is gorgeous. And look at the boys waiting patiently. They are adorable. Staying in the clearings is smart. Too bad you even have to have that tension surrounding you. Though it looks like you’re making the most of it and enjoying the joys of the seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Shelley! We’re navigating our first “killing season” here, and so far it’s much better than what we left behind in Idaho. We take the peaceful moments we’re gifted and I’m grateful for them. Having wonderful neighbors who understand why we’re “gun shy” helps.

      We’re excited about more snow!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, then soon, my friend, you, too – in Vermont’s banana belt – will enjoy the white stuff!

      I first heard the term graupel two years ago. Where has it been hiding all these years? Those small pellets are distinct, and I can’t believe I went 6o+ years without a specific name for them!

      Liked by 1 person

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