Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Winter is here!
A mere two days after I did my last post, announcing that there was no snow yet...it started to snow. We didn't get that much, maybe three to four inches, but it has been quite cold ever since.
Sunday I went for a walk through Ewing Park, an urban park here in Bloomington, IL. It's not far from where I live, maybe a couple of miles...although the parking lot was very icy. The sounds of children squealing with delight carried through the air from the field, where they were sledding down the hill. In the "Hedge Apple Woods" area, where I was, I think I experienced the most solitude I ever have at that park, which is normally overrun with dog walkers.
Once again, I took Greenturtle's camera (he was home studying, as usual), with the goal of getting some nice snaps of crows. I love crows, and had an image of a post called "Crow Patrol" or "Crows in snow," something clever like that, featuring brilliant photos of crows. Well, there were crows, quite noisy crows at that, but they didn't fancy having their pictures taken. Either they stayed in the trees, behind lots of tangling branches and/or evergreen fronds...or they were flying to and fro...or they were in really poor light. I have a couple of smudgy charcoal-looking crow shapes as photographic evidence for all these crows, nothing more. I think Sunwiggy may be right. She stated in a recent e-mail that crows don't like to have their pictures taken.
What I did find, in abundance, was a flock of robins. I'm not sure if they were on their way south or if they had decided to stay put for the season (not all robins migrate, and I guess the numbers that linger through the winters are increasing), but there sure were a lot of them. I also saw: downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers; blue jays; cardinals; black-capped chickadees; and one cedar waxwing. Hmmm...consulting my list of usual winter suspects, posted previously, I can see that the curse of winter birding is upon me!
It was pretty in the park, with all the new-fallen snow. Cold, but pretty. Meanwhile, the new winter weather has proven quite a challenge to my workplace commute, since I am still biking it several times a week. I would love to say I'm suffering for the sake of the earth, but the truth is, I just can't afford a second car right now. I mean, I probably could if I really wanted to, but what a waste of money I don't have! I refuse to bow down to convention! I can get by with my bike!
Meanwhile, is it admiration or just shock that my co-workers expressed today, as I pulled on my balaclava (as in above photo!) and assorted winter gear and announced, 15 degrees be damned, I'm riding my bike! I'm from Michigan, after all, where we know a thing or two about winter. The truth is, the cold doesn't really bother me that much for short spurts. Less than an hour outside and I'm fine in all but the most Arctic of weather. It's the traffic I mind, especially in the dark (yes, five o'clock and already dark as midnight, alas), and especially when the ice on the sides of the road forces me out closer to the traffic. Well, what can I say, winter is here, and it's just arrived, so I might as well get used to it....