Tag Archive 'sunlight'

Feb 12 2018

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The Long February Sun

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Over ten hours of daylight now. With the sun shining throughout the day, it was really noticeable. No matter how big the snow piles are, they shrink fast before the long February sun. Soon the sap will be running, and not long after that will come the first signs of spring.

My dog Matika and I went for a walk late this afternoon. Even though I’d put in a full day’s work, there was still enough light left for us to head out. We followed the Rail Trail, groomed for snowmobiles, far enough away from the road to escape the sound of passing cars. Then the simple beauty of late winter took over: blue sky, leafless trees, pristine snow, and that blazing sun.

When I was younger, I didn’t much care for this time of year. That’s because I focused on the cold. But the clean, clear sky – so often on full display here in New England during the winter – has gradually won me over. And while I will always prefer the green world to the white one, this season no longer feels like something I must simply endure.

The long February sun. Over four decades ago I was deeply depressed, and it was this sun that reignited the spark of hope in me. Shortly after that, I was back with the living again, and have been ever since. The sun can work miracles.

Now back indoors, with the last bit of light gone, I go about my business with renewed strength. That’s because the sun still burns deep within me. I am alive and well in an elemental world, and that’s no small thing. I have seen the light.

 

 

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Feb 16 2015

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Late Winter Daydream

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spring bushwhackI’ve put off thinking about it as long as possible, but now the prospect of a leisurely ramble through a lush green forest strikes with irresistible force. There’s something about the strength of the February sun that sets up this daydream. The jet stream remains well south of here and subzero temps persist as they rarely have in years past, but the wild man in me responds to bright sunlight all the same.

On some level I know this deep freeze can’t last. When it breaks I’ll be hiking across cold mud. Then the verdure will come out, slowly but surely. It’s inevitable.

Funny how we get used to the white landscape, to the frost nipping at our cheeks, chapped hands and lips, and that dull ache in the lower back from shoveling snow. Though I wouldn’t call it warm, temps in the teens seem normal to me now. And I’ve grown accustomed to being indoors most of the time. All the same, I catch myself dreaming of spring at least once each day. My favorite season is only a month or so away.

Don’t get me wrong. I know exactly what time of year it is and how long winter lasts here in the North Country. I’m keeping my snowshoes handy. I’m doing my best to live in the present. Still this longing for the green forest can’t be brushed aside. I’m a vernal creature at heart.

 

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Mar 16 2014

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Chasing the Light

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MarchLakeChampWinter persists. A Nor’easter dumped over a foot of snow on northern New England this week, followed by an all-too-familiar cold snap. But the March sun melts the ice with ease at midday, and lingers into early evening. There is hope for us yet. The equinox, after all, is only four days away.

My dog Matika was so restless this morning that I had no choice but to take her out for a run. She was my excuse, anyhow. Where to go? Usually I gravitate to the woods, but today I went to the lake. If I can’t have warmth and greenery, then give me blue sky and sunlight.

A wicked north wind greeted me as I stepped out of my car and walked to the edge of Lake Champlain. It was iced over as far as the eye could see. I tossed a ball for Matika while trudging across the icy ground between snowdrifts. Judy had warned me about this bitter, lakeshore cold. But I ventured into it anyway, chasing the light.

The many tracks in the snow assured me that Matika and I weren’t alone in our restlessness. A few hardy ice fishermen stood motionless on the bay ice despite the cold. For a moment I imagined lake water lapping gently to shore before me as it had the last time I was here.

My eyes watered as the wind blew, urging me to cut my walk short. Oblivious to the cold, Matika kept running after the ball. Clouds appeared on the western horizon and that was it for me. Back inside for another day. Spring will arrive soon, the optimist in me kept thinking. And I smiled when I saw a shamrock decoration plastered to the window of a house during my drive home.  Yes, spring will arrive soon, very soon.

 

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Feb 17 2013

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Sun and Ice

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lake iceToo tired to drive into the mountains, I went down to the lake yesterday just to get out of the house. I was surprised to find Lake Champlain iced over as far as the eye could see. One would think that recent thaws would have opened it up a bit. But the fist of winter remains clenched.

The sun was out, anyhow. That gave me hope. Lord knows I need spring to get here. I need a few days in the woods – the deeper the better – to unthaw my cold, hard heart.

I am hardened by the daily irritations of modern living: media hype, traffic, tax forms, economic woes, and all that idiocy in Washington. Doing too much literary work while holding down a job doesn’t help. Neither does the helpless feeling I get while watching loved ones suffer a broken health care system. I’m chronically tired, cranky and demoralized. Don’t know how my wife puts up with me. No doubt she would send me to the woods for a week if she could.

All the same a warm, February sun reflects brightly off the ice, reminding me that the coldest, darkest days are in the rear view mirror now. The first hints of spring can’t be that far away. Just have to hang in there a little longer. I’ll be tramping through mud and snowmelt soon enough.

 

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