How Will You Remember the Winter of 2018/2019?
Submitted by Art and Barb Straub
NOW is the time to write that book youâ€™ve been putting off penning! Your kin of the future will never believe the records broken this winter unless you record them and have a witness sign the tome. How we regret neglecting to develop a list of natureâ€™s irregularities when this nightmare first began, as when the mind ages, at least for some of us, memories blur and become moth eaten. Record your thoughts, before they become like broken ice on the pathway of life.
Height and depth of snow-drifts â€˜blow the mind.â€™ The bitter chill accompanying the white stuff has continued for weeks. Cement-like snow boulders cling to auto undercarriages snapping toes trying to kick them loose. Farmyards, rural roads, countryside avenues have become unfamiliar trails through unfriendly landscapes. Grinding, grating and grunting snowplows piling behemoth heaps harass the nerves. Wrists and arms and a hip or two snap like kindling. Snow-days for children and parents have become the norm rather than the exception. Gargantuan yet beautiful icicles form from each and every roof threatening eaves and humankind. Snow mounds of mammoth proportion reach to embrace electrical lines and poles. The discomfort list seems endless does it not? We are gearing ourselves to run screaming toward the Minnesota River when the refrains of â€œIâ€™m Dreaming of a White Christmasâ€ peels through the air next October! Speaking of rivers, the word â€œfloodâ€ is being whispered behind closed doors.
In the midst of it all, note the photos of the black-capped chickadee and white-breasted nuthatch. When encountered at one of Francesâ€™s suet feeders, the bit of black and white fluff actually dropped down on oneâ€™s palms and began stuffing itself, so starved for energy that it lost its natural fear of humankind. Nearby, a white-breasted nuthatch couldnâ€™t wait for black oil sunflower seeds to be doled out, rather, flew into the storage container and helped itself. In our opinion, hunger in the hills is at an all-time high!
Sunsets, when not discouraged by falling snow, are beautiful to the beholder, perhaps as a result of there being so few in yon azure sky. Infrequent â€œsun-dogsâ€ send chills through oneâ€™s backbone even in a heated car. We mustnâ€™t forget the robins. Once rare as crowsâ€™ teeth in February, any Henderson/LeSueur inhabitant who dares to look through steamy eye lenses may see the orange-breasted birds flurrying hither and yon seeking nourishment. Thursday, February 28th found 541 of the puffed aerial beauties seeking shelter in a roost in a large copse of Colorado spruce near LeSueur. Finding food throughout the day, we no longer know where, they return each eve at sunset to huddle together and gossip about the dayâ€™s frigid and frenzied activities.
One wonders. Where are those few pheasants which remained after blizzard number five? Do eagle egg embryos in the three area eagle aeries remain alive in minus forty-degree wind chills? Will Bucksâ€™ Lake have a major fish â€˜winter killâ€™ when that water body awakens in July? St. Patrickâ€™s Day and basketball tournaments often conjure blizzards with heavy wet snow mid-March. Is this a truism for 2019? What happened to that fibber of a woodchuck that promised an early spring? Will there even BE a spring? When do the men and women who operate snowplows sleep, and do they have nightmares of drivers racing mindlessly toward them? Is there insurance that covers homeowners falling off ladders and being speared by dropping icicles? What would it sound like if all the icicles in Henderson dropped off roofs at the same time?
Do ice chunks rubbing on car tires lessen the mileage derived from new tires? Are there really people inside those snow-covered cars bearing down on one? How many children have disappeared in drifts thus far, and has anyone noticed their absences? From whence is road salt obtained, where does it go when (and if) the snow melts? These and many more queries drift through oneâ€™s mind-space as one sucks on aspirin while recuperating from â€˜overshovelitis.â€™ You may have additional comments to share with the â€œIndy Office.â€ Please forward.
In the meantime, this is your conscience speaking. A month of wicked winter weather remains. Have a heart. Drag out that beaten-up bird feeder and put it to use. Thank you.