All week, those of us in Colorado were bombarded with forecasts for an epic snowstorm. The forecasts frequently changed (regarding intensity, snowfall, start time, etc.) and during one 45-minute period in which Zippy checked three times, he read three different forecasts. The whole situation began to feel a bit hyperbolic.** That’s no longer the case.
View out my front window about 4:45 p.m. on March 14, 2021
The birds are doing their best to weather the storm, including these two Northern Flickers clinging to the telephone pole and three American Robins hunkered down in a Russian Olive tree:
Photo quality is poor due to the swirling snow covering windows on all four sides of the house. (Full disclosure: my windows were already smudged by cats and dog).
Drought-stricken Colorado definitely needs moisture so I’m not complaining, especially since I’m warm and safe inside. I realize how very fortunate I am.
** My favorite tweet from the week (@PhosphoSolution):
There are so many thoughts and feelings jumbled inside me right now regarding the climate crisis, green new deal, capitalism, greed, cruelty, political failure, collective trauma, heartache and rage, but rather than unpack all that, I opted for self-care. I just spent the last thirty minutes looking through photos from camping trips and hikes, birding excursions, quick getaways in the nearby open space, etc. It was nice to gaze upon and remember those moments.
May 6, 2019
Because I need to get outside to shovel the much-needed snow we finally got last night, I had to quit my trip down memory lane and make a photographic decision. I opted to celebrate (again) the juvenile Limpkin that allowed me to take many photos of it when I visited Kapok Park.
One bird can’t change the trajectory of the world, but this limpkin can and did soothe my soul. Maybe it will do the same for you.
I took this photo exactly one year ago and I’m now wondering if Emma closed her eyes because she saw into the future.
Maybe Emma sensed that one year later we’d be on Day 12 of a mold issue/odor issue in our pantry during a stretch of brutally cold weather. Maybe she knew the mold mitigation company would have to come out to treat the problem a second time. Maybe our sweet Emma couldn’t bear to see what was coming.
Maybe or maybe not. But if Emma really was that damned clairvoyant, I wish she’d given us a heads-up on the improperly mounted chimney cap that was gonna cause major condensation problems.
. . . and I’ll blow your fence down.
Did the Big Bad Wolf pay us a visit last night? No. But we did have wind gusts strong enough to repeatedly slam a tree branch against the side of the house, causing our doggo much anxiety and me much grumpiness. I put a pillow over my head and eventually fell asleep.
December 23, 2020. Photo by Wildebeest
I was the last one awake and upright this morning. However, I was the first to notice something was not-right. Zippy and Wildebeest somehow both failed to see the fence was down. When I pointed it out to him, Zippy replied, “Oh, that’s probably why it took Emma so long to come back inside this morning. Guess she was out exploring.”
Fence companies are VERY busy right now. Zippy erected a temporary fence across the thirty-foot gap while we wait. It may be months. Prediction: Emma has several more adventures in her near future.
August 15, 2020
What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on? ~ Henry David Thoreau
Zippy took this photo last month and while today’s air quality isn’t nearly so orange, I’m not spending any time outside. The local air quality index reads “Unhealthy for sensitive groups.” I’ll go out on a limb and say I think this translates to “the air is unhealthy for everyone and everything.”
Exceptionalism?! All over the United States, people are hiding indoors to escape the ravages of the climate crisis. And our elected officials don’t care, so it’ll only get worse.
Earlier this week, I prepared for the coming massive drop in temperature (over 60 degrees in 24 hours) and snowstorm by putting buckets over three of my sedum plants. The sedum had just come into bloom and I couldn’t bear thinking about the bees and butterflies losing that food. While we did lose a huge limb from our red maple, the plants fared better.
September 12, 2020
The sedum survived and my winged friends were out in force today.
(Shout-out to Michelle who would’ve been fifty years old today. She also loved flora and fauna.)
Neighbor’s ash tree. May 29, 2020.
Partially clad limbs
but mostly naked branches
too many cold snaps
Two days ago it was 70+ degrees here in Colorado and I went out for a run in a t-shirt. Yesterday, the temperatures dropped to about 25 degrees. Today? About 11 degrees and the snow keeps falling. I’m trying to focus on the cozy aspects of being “trapped” inside. Tea, books, space heater. More tea.
I’m also keeping an eye on the feeders.
Northern Flicker. February 4, 2020.
S[he] who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter. ~ John Burroughs
Today is cold and icy. Again. Unlike two weeks ago, I am not venturing outside because I very much do not want to slip and fall again. Instead, I went in search of an appropriate quotation for this ice-encrusted day. I found the following . It speaks to me, despite never having directed a film. I read it as “Writing a novel is mystifying…”
Directing is mystifying. It’s a long, long, skid on an icy road, and you do the best you can trying to stay on the road… If you’re still here when you come out of the spin, it’s a relief. But you’ve got to have the terror if you’re going to do anything worthwhile.
~ Mike Nichols
Suffice to say, I’m firmly in the white-knuckle, can-I-pull-this-off portion of the writing process right now. First drafts can be simultaneously exhilarating and puke-inducing.
Lilac bloom on May 17, 2018.
The thermometer currently reads 18 degrees. The sky is gray. It’s snowing and blowing, and is forecast to continue like that through tomorrow morning. I try to live in the moment, to be mindful and present in my life. But right now, in this moment, I’m looking ahead to spring and lilacs in bloom.
Fight me, Pema Chödrön.
I’d never heard of “bomb cyclone” until yesterday and now Zippy has repeated that phrase so many times Zebu and I are debating drinking a shot every time he says “bomb cyclone.” Might as well have some fun with it, right?
The wind is blowing hard and swirling every which way. Windows on all four sides of the house are affected.
North. South. East. West. Everywhere I look is a snowy-blowy mess. Bomb cyclone.
Oops, everyone take a drink!
I just got back from a 4-mile run around the neighborhood. Emma started with me and then bailed at about 3/4 of a mile, possibly due to it being only 27 degrees. But it all worked out because as I dropped her off at home, I had the sense to put on my mask. Suddenly, it felt quite pleasant out there.
And when a bunny ran in front of me, I grinned and remembered that it’s Bunny Monday!
I’m sorry I don’t have a bunny photo to share, but here I am at home again, reenacting my Bunny Monday grin.
It’s too cold to take Emma for her walk.
The sun is nowhere to be seen.
It’s gonna be dark-dark-dark in a couple hours.
Humor me and this long-ago clematis bloom.
Under certain circumstances,
profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
~ Mark Twain
AP Photo, File
Any place is good for eavesdropping, if you know how to eavesdrop.
~ Tom Waits
Poppy downed by May hailstorm before it had a chance to bloom.
If we were to lose the ability to be emotional,
if we were to lose the ability to be angry,
to be outraged,
we would be robots.
And I refuse that.
~ Arundhati Roy
In the last ten months, every house in our neighborhood got a new roof following a hailstorm last summer. In fact, roofers were working on a neighbor’s house minutes ago when the sky turned dark and another hailstorm blew in.
As Marcel watched, hail drifted up against the sliding glass door within minutes.
Here’s a view out the front window.
I’m very worried this storm just ruined all the new roofs. Again. I hope I’m wrong because otherwise there’s a whole lotta shingles headed for the landfill and a whole lotta hammering in our futures.
No snow in the near future, but there’s currently a FIRE WEATHER WATCH. That’s just freakin’ great, especially because someone keeps lighting fires in the open space that’s so close I can see it out my window.
Good thing climate change isn’t a real thing, or I’d be feeling really anxious.
The last couple weeks have been warm and DRY and windy and DRY, and I was starting to have serious anxiety about climate change. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s still happening. But this wet snowfall is taking the edge off.
Who knew the white stuff could be a balm for the soul?
It’s nineteen degrees,
if I had wings I’d fly south.
At least I’m inside.
For years our main bird feeder hung off a branch near the trunk of our red maple. We had a great view from our dining room window and spent many happy hours watching the birds. The good news is our maple tree has thrived in our yard (our one and only true success with planting trees at this house), but the bad news is that we could no longer see the feeder due to all the growth.
Out of sight equaled out of mind, and filling the feeder became hit and miss. For the most part, the birds gave up on us.
Today we purchased a feeding pole and moved the feeder to its new location outside the other dining room window.
The feeder is now located next to the stump from the ash tree that resided there before succumbing to our bad tree juju.
The feeder is now also located close to where our bird bath was situated. We foolishly left our heated bird bath out there all season and it fell victim to the same hail storm that destroyed our roof. We were (and still are) sure there’s another unheated bird bath somewhere in this house, but we’ve been unable to find it. So today we finally caved in and bought another one (which Zippy insists means we will find the missing bath), and set it up on the patio.
The insurance company is replacing our heated bath, but we won’t put that one out until the temperatures drop.
Now all that’s left to do is sit back and wait for the birds to find us again.
Three years ago Zippy and I finally faced reality and replaced the shake shingles on top of our house. Our former neighbors, the ones higher on the hill than us and with a view of our roof from their kitchen, were thrilled.
We were tired of retrieving shingles from the yard every time the wind blew. Also, we were concerned the roof might start leaking.
The main reason we’d delayed action was that we couldn’t decide on the type of roof we wanted. Actually, that’s not true. We knew we wanted a steel roof because it was a more sustainable and environmentally benign material than asphalt shingles. But our budget finally pushed us toward asphalt and we consoled ourselves with the knowledge that the house had had the same roof for many, many years and that the new roof would last another many years.
A while back, my neighborhood was hit by a hail storm that ruined every single roof. (Except for the steel roof two streets over). Every day there’s hammering somewhere in the neighborhood. Today, that hammering is close to home.
Not my roof, but the same scenario.
Right now there’s a roll-off dumpster in my driveway filled with three-year-old shingles torn from the roof. Tomorrow the roofers will install a new asphalt shingle roof.
While I’m grateful for my home and the literal roof over our heads, I also feel a great sadness. We’re sending another load of waste to the landfill.