The winter weather rollercoaster continues. After a (relatively) balmy Friday and Saturday, with temps stretching into the high 30s (F), Arctic winds came roaring through the state last night, gusting to over 40 miles per hour and driving the mercury downwards.
It's about 10º as I set out today, hatted and hooded and gloved and mittened and booted, wearing my warmest long underwear under snow pants and fleece shirt and jacket - all for a short afternoon walk. (It's such a chore to get dressed for outdoors at this time of year.) The wind is behind me at the start of my walk, so I'm deceived at first into thinking the afternoon milder than it is.
Over my head, the moon shivers and hugs herself in a cold blue sky dotted with clouds...
...while cattails stay warm in their fuzzy jackets at the edge of the marshy lake-around-the corner.
Just after I snap the cattail photo, I see an actual cat - with tail - go running across the ice. It's got a visibly thick fur coat, but how does it keep its paws warm? (And what is it looking for?)
As I work my way across the fields, clouds roll in to provide a dramatic grey backdrop for this favourite line of trees:
At the pond behind the high school, river birches too are wearing multiple layers (much more stylish than mine):
Splinters like the towers of a tiny ruined city stand up from a weathered tree trunk:
Another favourite tree under the winter sky:
At my feet a leaf lies spread-eagled in the snow, wondering what it did to deserve such a chilly fate.
Gratuitous shot of my custom thumbless mitten (cut and sewn from a felted thrift-store sweater and perfect for blocking the wind):
Speaking of the wind, my path has now turned into it, and it's COLD - making my eyes water and highlighting the air gaps between my hood and my cheeks. Good thing today's walk is a short one.
Just next to the path, a fence wire is clasped in a small tree's inexorable embrace:
(Which will win this slow struggle of years? My money's on the tree. It's growing and adaptable, while the wire can only bend so far and must eventually snap.)
At the other side of the field, I get my first shadow shot in weeks. (Marigold, this is for you.)
And the wind isn't getting any warmer. Just one more photo of the marshy lake as I pass it on my way home:
The ice looks blotchy, and rather sullen, as though it wishes winter would make up its mind and give up this tedious freeze-thaw cycle. No chance of a thaw in the next week at least - we're heading into several days of near- and below-zero temps with wind chills of -15º to -25º F.
Years ago, when we announced our decision to move to Wisconsin from Southern California, the response of friends and family was inevitably the same: "Don't you know it gets cold there in the winter?" Yes, we knew. And we moved here anyway. We tell ourselves that cold weather builds character - and it does make a change from heat and humidity. :)
Here's to a warm and safe week ahead. What's the weather like where you live?
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