2:00 pm - The snow has turned suddenly heavy, with miniature clumps the size of quarters falling thick and fast. Freezing rain is forecast for later; I'd better go while the going's good.
The temperature is a very mild 20 - positively balmy compared with a few days ago. In 5 minutes I'm out the door and into the falling snow. The thyme which grows next to the doorstep is still, amazingly, green (albeit a very dark green):
Do its volatile oils somehow keep it going where other plants have given up for the year? Before spring comes it will dry up completely, but how has it survived in the frozen ground and the extreme temps of the past week?
Today's destination is the park, which I haven't visited for quite a while. On the way is this outbuilding covered with vines like bobbed hair:
Snow has a power to transform the everyday into something magical. This plain brown staircase becomes a line of snowy rooftops when I tilt my head (and the camera):
Goldenrod sprays are coated with white:
It's hard to tell where the fuzzy blossoms leave off and the snow begins.
The snow's texture is gradually changing from fluffy to firm; tiny pellets strike my jacket and collect on my hat brim. A pine cone, half-buried in the snow, begins to sparkle with ice.
I like the mottled pattern on the bottom of its scales:
The park's inner pond is edged with all sorts of lovely dried flowers. Some tall and stately...
...some rather exotic-looking...
...and some daintily lacy.
A tree trunk wears snow like an icy saddle:
On the far side of the park, the lower branches of certain pines are an amazing rust-colour against the grey-green needles. They look almost as though they've lost a layer of bark:
Beneath them the shoreline curves away into the snow-blurred distance.
Another of the striking pines. These branches remind me of a spiral staircase (and make me think of the Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse):
Freezing rain is now falling thick and fast, and rattling on the leaves of a nearby oak....
(How's that for making you feel warm and cozy and glad to be indoors?)
My jacket is damp with melting ice; time to finish my circuit of the park and head for home. No more photos! (Well, perhaps just a few....)
A park bench beaded with ice pellets looking for all the world like pearl sugar:
A cheerfully painted birdhouse on the side of an oak:
And one more snow-crusted park bench:
The once-soft snow is now granular and crunchy, and the temperature is rising. If the weathermen are correct, by Tuesday it will be in the 40s (and raining, darn it). We're in for a foggy, slippery few days before the temps drop back down.
Almost February. Soon winter's back will be broken, and we'll be halfway to spring. (Usually by now I'm growing impatient for warmer weather, but this year I'm in no particular hurry.)
Are you enjoying winter, or do you long for spring to come?
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