We’ve had two good snowstorms recently about six days apart. The first dropped about six inches and the second about seven inches, so unless we get some rain or warm weather I think it’s safe to say that we’ll have a white Christmas. This view shows a trail around a pond that I follow quite regularly. I wasn’t the first one here on this day.
The pond is frozen but isn’t safe for skating yet. This is a very popular skating place and once the ice is thick enough the City of Keene will plow it so it can be used. Hopefully the ice will be thick enough to plow; the plow truck has ended up on the pond bottom several times over the years. Luckily it isn’t that deep.
Cattails tell you where the solid ground ends and the pond begins. This is a good thing because often unless you know the place well you can’t tell where the land meets water when it’s all covered in snow. That’s especially true along rivers; one year I realized that I was standing on an ice shelf quite a few feet out over a river. Once I stopped shaking I was able to get back on land without getting wet. I’ve made sure never to make that mistake again; people drown by doing such foolish things.
Because it was so cold when it fell the snow was light and fluffy and easy to shovel. Since all it takes is a light breeze to blow such powdery snow around I didn’t think my chances of seeing snowy trees was very good, but thankfully there was no breeze and the trees stayed frosted. In the woods every single thing was covered by a coating of snow.
But wait a minute; what is that dark object out there on the ice? I know this pond well enough to know that there shouldn’t be anything sticking up out of the water in that spot.
It was the otter, and this makes the second terrible photo that I’ve taken of it. My camera simply isn’t made for such long shots but I keep trying anyway. Odd that this animal would live here all alone. At least, I’ve never seen more than a single one at a time. I thought they were very social animals and I’m surprised that it hasn’t gone off in search of a mate. It stayed just long enough for a single photo before slipping through a hole. I wondered how it was able to make a hole. Maybe the ice is thin there. The snow plow driver might want to take note.
This view of some blue shadows was taken the day before the latest storm, when the sun was shining.
There were snowmobile tracks on this rail trail but snowmobiles must be getting lighter because the snow wasn’t packed down and each step was more of a slide, because there was ice under the snow.
But the snowmobiles weren’t having any trouble. I’m grateful for snowmobile clubs because if it wasn’t for them many of these trails would have grown over with brush and trees years ago.
I always see pink in certain winter oak leaves and orange in others. My color finding software sees salmon pink in some of these leaves and tan in others.
I can’t say that I often feel aghast but I felt just that when I saw the Ashuelot River frozen from bank to bank in this spot, because in all the years I’ve been doing this blog it has never frozen here this early. In fact it’s rare for it to freeze here at all, mostly because of the fast current, I think. Apparently below zero temperatures work quickly; we’ve only had one night where they dropped that low.
This photo was taken just five days before the previous one. Hard to believe I know, but true. As Mark Twain once said: “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”
The snow on these oak branches told me that there hadn’t been a puff of wind along the river either.
What was left of the asters bent under the weight.
I like how water turns so dark in the winter. I don’t know if the white of the snow makes it seem darker or if it’s a play of the light.
Sharp eyed longtime readers might notice something missing in this shot. There used to be an old dead white pine in this swamp that I called the heron tree.
This was what the heron tree looked like on Thanksgiving Day in 2014. Later, one day I looked for it and it was gone without a trace, as if someone had plucked it like a flower.
And this view of the first snow in December of 2013 shows why I called it the heron tree. Herons sat in it regularly and I wonder if they miss it as much as I do.
No matter how dark the sky is the sun always shines again and the clouds broke on this day to let it shine for all of about 5 seconds while I was out.
There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance. ~William Sharp
Thanks for coming by. Happy winter solstice!