It’s been over a week since the snowstorm of 2014 assaulted Boone County, and now the January thaw is well underway. We are well into a winter like we used to have when I was growing up in central Indiana. Below zero temperatures and heavy snow used to be the norm for our part of the world, but for the past several years we have been living in a moderate winter zone. I’m expecting two or three more heavy snow events for our state, along with at least one more bout of subzero temperatures. Hey, I might as well put in my two cents’ worth. Maybe I will predict the weather better than our overpaid weathermen on TV. I was in happy land as I peered out the window at the snow as it began piling up. I only wish that I could have been out in it so that I could experience it firsthand. A few years ago, I would have been preparing to depart into the frozen tundra soon after the last flake had fallen. There is nothing so silent or still as the out-of-doors after a heavy blanket of snow has been laid down. Even traffic becomes less annoying as the snowfall muffles the sounds of cars and trucks as they travel down the road.
The beautiful red bird (cardinal) stands out like a beacon of red against the backdrop of the snowy landscape that God has painted on his canvas. The squirrels are beginning to scamper about in search of food that they stowed away when the sun’s rays still felt warm against our skin. Later this spring trees will begin to sprout through the thawed soil, thanks to the hard work of those furry little varmints. I don’t believe that they really intended to help reforest our woodlands, but had merely forgotten where they had buried some of their treasure trove of goodies.
Often, I have wished that I had been able to hold onto the land that my great-grandparents had settled on in the 1800s. Along with the help of nature, I would have attempted to turn those once fertile fields of corn and soybeans into a heavily-wooded forest, which would eventually allow more wildlife to populate the land. I find it nearly unbearable to drive through Hamilton County and see just how much land has been taken over by less than beautifully designed housing and city-slicker landscaping. Lonesome country roads have been turned into four-lane parkways with European style roundabouts dotting the once ghost town-like intersections. I have reason to believe that our own rural settlement will one day resemble our neighboring county. Oh how sad it will be, when we exit the once familiar era of small towns where everyone knows their neighbor.
Do we really wish to create a metropolis that will replace close-knit communities with drugstores, banks and supermarkets on every street corner? Must we sacrifice our beautifully-landscaped yards, peaceful parks and small schools for fiscal growth and a chance to have a bigger black dot on our state map representing our expanding community? What’s next, will Turkey Run State Park become the Central Park of Indiana, surrounded by expensive high-rise suites and ever rising crime rates? I for one will not stand by and watch our little corner of paradise turn into the city of Fishers in Hamilton County. If we lose the battle to keep Boone County small, I think that I, along with my wife, dog and pet bird will have to hitch a ride on the next wagon train west.I love to observe our populations of deer, coyote, raccoon, turkey and birds as they inhabit and move about our county. I’ve, on occasion, even witnessed a wolf proudly surveying his surroundings. One can only hope that the majestic black bear will once again populate our state. With the way some city slickers carry on about coyotes, can you imagine what they would say about a bear rummaging through their garbage cans?There is nothing more eerie sounding or beautiful than the sound of a redheaded woodpecker echoing throughout the woodlands in search of insects hidden beneath tree bark. By keeping our eyes towards the ground, we could easily miss a pair of eagles soaring high overhead. What a true love story this bird creates as it stays with its mate for life, never leaving the other’s side “until death do they part.” Oh, couldn’t many of us learn something from those amazing predators of the skies?I’m not much of a supporter of ‘possums, but one time I saw several hanging by their tails from a tree along the side of a country road. I must admit that it was a rather unique sight that I’m glad I didn’t miss seeing. I’d much rather have a bear in my garbage though, than a dirty, over-sized rat, which a ‘possum resembles.
So as the snow continues to melt away and the frigid air moderates, just like tomorrow, it will come once again. Think of it, we have not even completed our first month of winter weather. So men, don’t shave your winter beards off too soon, and ladies, keep those warm boots next to the door, because, trust me, you will need them again. While the ground once again wins out over the snow, take some time to spend out-of-doors and soak up our local wildlife and beautiful woodlands. Sadly I must say that if it ever vanishes, it will be gone forever. Even if we would try and restore what we have destroyed, nothing would ever be the same.
Contact Raymond Snoke at firstname.lastname@example.org.