ANN BAILEY: For the serene mind, there is no such thing as bad weatherLike everyone else in the Northland, I enjoyed this fall’s beautiful weather. However, I think we all knew that it wasn’t likely to last. I’m not in the camp that figured that we had to pay for the lovely days. Hawaii has nice weather year-round and far as I know people there haven’t had to “pay” for it. I’ve just lived here long enough to know that this is the land of extremes and that all good weather must come to and end.
Like everyone else in the Northland, I enjoyed this fall’s beautiful weather. However, I think we all knew that it wasn’t likely to last.
I’m not in the camp that figured that we had to pay for the lovely days. Hawaii has nice weather year-round and far as I know people there haven’t had to “pay” for it. I’ve just lived here long enough to know that this is the land of extremes and that all good weather must come to and end.
Still, I wasn’t prepared for the vengeance with which winter hit. And yes, even though the calendar says it’s fall until later this month, as far as I’m concerned the first snowfall signaled the start of winter. Unlike October or early November snow, mid- to late November snow is likely to be with us until spring. That’s especially true when the initial snowfall is not a one-time event, but instead, followed by several more.
Though we haven’t had any major snowfalls, the little ones we’ve had have started piling up, and our yards at the farm are covered by snow high enough to go over the tops of our children’s boots. Because our farmyard is surrounded by trees, the snow usually lies where it falls and isn’t blown around into drifts.
The snow hill that Brian makes for our children after he plows out the driveway and a path to the horse barn is already several feet high. Our sons, Brendan and Thomas, have been having fun playing king on the hill and their sister, Ellen, has been frolicking in the snow with her golden retriever, Rosebud.
Rosebud also has already pulled Ellen around the yard on a sled. Rosebud and our yellow labs, Maggie and Minnie, love the cool temperatures and the snow. Maggie and Rosebud chase each other threw the yard, throwing up snow with their noses, then wrestle each other to the ground and roll one another over. Minnie, who is a little older and less playful, doesn’t participate in such frivolity, but she does enjoy tracking mice and rabbits through the woods and barking when she spots them.
The horses also seem to like the snow and spend a lot of time pawing through it to look for grass. They get fed plenty of good, quality alfalfa, but still like to forage for grass. I’m glad because when they’re busy tramping around in their pasture, they’re not bored and chewing on the fence.
Watching the children, dogs and horses take pleasure in the snow is the upside of our wintery end to November and beginning of December. Navigating the roads is the downside. The gravel roads have been full of pillow drifts and the highways have been slick from snow sifting across it.
Bad roads aren’t the main problem, though. The drifts have been soft enough to plow through with the car and if I reduce my highway speed, I don’t have to worry about going into the ditch. It’s poor visibility that makes me nervous. I don’t’ like not being able to clearly see the lines on the highway and I really don’t like it when someone who is going much too fast passes me and leaves my windshield covered with snow.
Despite the challenges of getting to and from work, I know that I’m a lot better off than people were in the days before sophisticated weather forecasting, cell phones and the Internet. Gone are the days when people traveled to town, unaware that a big storm was brewing. Now, we know that a storm may be in the offing when it’s still somewhere out in the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.
Given that, I guess I don’t have much to complain about when it comes to winter weather. Still, the prospects of dealing with poor road conditions and limited visibility for the next four months aren’t pleasant. That’s why I’ve decided to take the weather a day at a time. While I’ll continue to monitor the forecasts and keep on top of the latest weather news, I’m not going to fret about what the future holds as far as the weather, but instead, focus on the day-to-day challenges.
As I am striving to meet those challenges, I’ll try to keep in mind the saying about weather that is attributed to George Gissing’s “Winter, the Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft,” 1903: “For the man sound in body and serene of mind there is not such a thing as bad weather, every day has its beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously.” If the winter continues in the vein in which it began, I’ll be working hard to keep my mind serene.