Freezing rain or a wintry mix–not in Miami!

I’m a native Floridian, a rare thing in 1945 when I was born in south Florida! As a girl I lived through a number of hurricanes. My parents prepared by covering windows on the outside with plywood or with metal fold-down awnings. We stored water, extra food—enough for six people. We pulled out the hurricane lamps fueled by kerosene because we knew we would not have electricity, possibly for days. During those storms we would read, play board games like Monopoly, play card games like Go Fish, and sleep, if possible. Most of those hurricanes were not severe. We were prepared, as best we could, in our concrete block house located one block from the Everglades. Snow was a mythical phenomenon.

During my four years at Maryville College located in the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee I had a chance to actually play in several snowfalls. Students were not permitted to have cars, so I did not have the experience of driving in slick conditions. I’ve now spent the majority of my life in Missouri and Arkansas where we are regularly affected by snow, sleet, and ice storms.

My first experience of driving in hazardous snowy conditions came in Kansas City, MO my initial year of working for TWA. That was 1969. I used public transportation in those early years. To move my possessions to a new apartment, I had rented a car for a day. I recall it as a hazardous move. That nerve-racking day, I learned to respect the limitations of cars when faced with slick pavement and mounds of piled snow.

Winter ramblings from the Boston Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, 2023

Winter may or may not be cold here in Arkansas. How does one characterize winter? Winter weather in Arkansas may draw on cold air from the Arctic, or warm breezes drawn up from the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, January 23, Jeanne found this mossy rock when she walked in our woods. On Wednesday the lichens, mosses, leaves, boulder, and tiny acorn cups were buried in deep snow. Travel was stalled. Power outages common. Our solar panels were buried in snow until the sun returned.

The following day, Tuesday night, we had a heavy wet snowfall of six inches. The snow covered everything outside creating a new white world in our woods. We had to cancel appointments, and a necessary trip to the grocery store. Had we known that the coming weekend of mild weather was the only option for getting groceries, we would have made that extra trip to town.

Now it’s February 1st, four days later. We’re iced in! We’ve been iced in for days. Living on this mountain for thirty-seven years has given us deep respect for the power of Nature. We are well aware of the limitations of even four-wheel drive vehicles. Until the sun shines we will stay home.

It’s been nine days since we last bought groceries. We’ve made soup and other sustaining meals. Yet, we do long for some groceries we’ve run out of even after careful stockpiling and some recent rationing of preferred foods.

Our house is warmed by the woodstove. Last week we were surrounded by the white reflection of the deep snow cover seen through the five huge windows. Today the thin layer of ice is not visible, but the hazard of falling is quite real. Jeanne wears ice cleats over her shoes called Yaktrax for increased traction. She wears these to do chores including bringing in the firewood.

The woodshed (below) is stacked full of dry wood. Preparing for these cold days is a year-round effort. In Arkansas, shoveling snow is not a yearly job. Jeanne loves the snow and finds the woods gorgeous today as she shovels the snow from the deck.

My Rusty, Rustic shade garden harbors a variety of chairs, tables and other artifacts I’ve gathered over the decades because each “spoke” to me. In these photos each artifact is transformed into sculpture. Wandering through this new version of my shade garden, I see new silhouettes of familiar objects. I savor the sight knowing this is a temporary transformation.

In the second and third photos, look for the hints of brilliant blue hiding under the snow.

Once the blue skies return, the sun begins to melt the snow. The landscape shifts once again into familiar shapes. We discover daffodil leaves poking up through the snow promising spring blooms before long. The “Wheel of the Year” turns promising the excitement of renewed growth.

Yes, all life begins in the dark! Each bulb first sends roots down into the soil to gather nourishment. Only after being well-rooted, will the plant push up the tender foliage to seek sunlight. All that snow is an effective way to provide liquid nourishment to those early blooming plants.

Snow is no longer a mythical phenomenon for me. I do confess that frozen water falling from the sky still holds a certain magical quality for this Floridian.

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2 Responses to Freezing rain or a wintry mix–not in Miami!

  1. Lila says:

    I do see those daffodil “noses”!
    Your rustic shade garden does make interesting “sculptures “ with all of that snow!
    We have crocus blooming and daffodils about half way “up”!

    • Paula says:

      Lila, You were the first ‘blogger’ I ever knew! Now you’ve become a reliable respondent. Perhaps those two facts are related! Since you’ve seen the shade garden in spring, you can appreciate all the transformations.

      I hope I can see those crocus before they fade. Crocus bulbs were the first plants I put in the ground here in 1983 while still living in Kansas City, MO. I hoped to enjoy them in early spring when I visited. However, the deer enjoyed them before I could! Since daffodils are poisonous the deer ignore them.

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