During the deepest part of winter, especially with the way this winter has been so far, people sometimes begin to reflect on dark and depressing thoughts that seem to match the darkness outside. Cabin fever is probably the most accurate description for these feelings. Many people are excited at seeing the first snowfall and wait in anticipation, hoping that we will have a white Christmas. Once January rolls around, many folks begin to drop off of the “I love the winter” bandwagon. And by the beginning of February, that wagon is becoming rather empty. It more resembles the aisles in a Walmart store a few days after all of the unwanted presents have been exchanged and no one is in the mood for shopping. I’ve been to ghost towns that had more activity.
The month of February has brought us both heavy, wet snows and our first thaw of the New Year. Unfortunately, any snow that melted has been quickly replaced by more snow, along with icy formations weighing down our gutters and downspouts. This time of year can bring several inches of snow or freezing rain, but at the same time it begins to breathe life back into our souls by giving us signs that spring can’t be far away. Last year at this time, I saw a female robin that looked much worse for the wear And last week, I spied what appeared to be the same bird, sitting on one of our Plum trees. It looked like “death warmed over in a microwave.” I am not certain whether or not she missed the boat that was sailing south or took an early train back to Indiana. I doubt that this poor little creature has been able to find any food, since she mostly devours worms and insects.I wonder just how many folks, who normally spend their effort and money on killing dandelions, would give their right arm now just to see one popping through the snow. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to remember just how pleasant a tomato vine smells as you brush up against its leaves, or how wonderful a Lilac bush smells when it is loaded down with those better-than-perfume smelling blossoms. Oh, who can hardly wait until someone revs up their mower and begins to cut the grass for the very first time of the year? How aromatic that can be as it gives off a scent that can, at times, be described as smelling like fresh-cut watermelon.
Toward the end of February and sometime during the beginning of March, the air will become filled with the sounds of chirping birds and the chattering of squirrels. The sounds of spring thunderstorms will eventually drown out the howling winds that have haunted our county for way too many weeks and months. The flash of lightening will eventually take the place of the blinding white snow that has blanketed the ground for so long. Along our creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes, explosive sounds of the thick winter ice breaking up will be sweet music to many an ear.I can remember lying in bed at my grandparents’ during the middle of the night and being awakened to the sound of what seemed like an invasion of heavy bombers dropping their explosive payloads on the ground below. The first time experiencing that eardrum-busting sound, I had no idea what I had heard, until I arose from bed the next morning and saw Grandpa staring out the window. We both could only stand and gaze out the window in amazement, as the ice on the Wabash River expanded and contracted as it started to break apart. Giant icebergs the size of a house soon began to drift southwest down the river, at times gouging out destruction along its path. Bridges and anything else that might be in the way of these large shards of ice, could at times fall prey to the weight and razor sharp edges of these frozen elements of nature. Some of the damage that once occurred has been eliminated by the damming of many of our rivers, but with such an extreme winter as we have been experiencing, nature is most likely to repeat itself.
Once the snow has finally disappeared and the rivers begin to run swiftly from the spring rains, winter will, like always, become nothing more than just a frigid memory. Two pieces of charcoal and a carrot lying on the muddy ground will be the only things left showing that the snowman had once been the center focus of hundreds of children across Boone County. Sleds will be packed away in some dark corner of a garage or attic, once again taking second place to bicycles, fishing poles, lemonade stands, chasing fireflies and summertime childhood imaginations. In the very near future, the sound of screaming riders on roller coasters will drown out the spinning tires on the ice and snow. Toy sand shovels will soon replace snow shovels, and motorcycles will force the snowmobiles back into storage for at least another six months. Short days and long, cold winter nights will once again be smothered by a seemingly never-sleeping sun. Rest easy my friends, just like the spring rains will wash away the snow, our wintertime blues will also soon fade away.
Contact Raymond Snoke at firstname.lastname@example.org.