Wednesday, February 13, 2008

winter

Wow it's taking some real adjustment to get used to snow again! I moved to Iowa eight months ago after living in Atlanta for 11 years (well two of those years were in France but you get the idea). We liked the weather in Atlanta, especially the 65-degree days in the middle of winter. My family in Minnesota and Illinois were cold, lamenting the snow...and I have to say I enjoyed telling them how brightly the sun was shining in my part of the country.
Well, now I am in THEIR part of the country again, and we've had more below-zero degree days that I want to acknowledge. Apparently it's an exceptionally cold, snowy winter, even by Iowa standards. Sure it's beautiful, but it's so cold out, and the snow is so powdery, you can't even build a snow family or have a snowball fight! So what is the purpose of a foot of snow I ask?!
I must say it's been fun watching the birds at our feeder. We bought a squirrel-proof feeder at Wild Birds Unlimited before Christmas. And it works! But the squirrels think they can figure it out...so every day we watch them hang here and there, sometimes in incredibly perilous positions, from the tiniest, wispiest branches, only to realize..."nope, today is not my day. But I will be back". Yes, I imagine squirrel conversations. What, you don't?
We also have deer, which is fun for me, and yes I think they are cute too. Our neighbors don't share this opinion because they eat everything in sight. For me they are all Bambi and it isn't a stretch for me to animate them in my head, complete with cartoon flowers and a full orchestra. The other night, coming home after a day of snowfall, two deer blocked my driveway, freezing in place when my headlights came around the corner. I stopped (of course), they looked towards me for a few seconds, thought better about introducing themselves and took off, running up our driveway and walkway, and down into the ravine. So beautiful!
I spent a weekend at my dad's place in northern Illinois recently. He is a big bird watcher, and one day we watched seven (yes seven!) bald eagles across the river. I took this photo of my dad watching them with binoculars from the warmth of his home. The inset photo of the eagle is one I took through a high-powered telescope. It isn't that great a photo, but I was surprised I could get anything at all, simply sticking the lens of my camera up to the eye of the telescope! Bald eagles are amazing to watch. There is an eagle's nest just up the river, so you catch them from time to time.
Ok enough of a break. Back to work! Stay warm.