Tags: chipmunks, coyote encounter, forest, foxes, growing vegetables in partial shade, living beneath the tree canopy, owl, raccoon, snow, snow in all 50 states, snow melt, snow trivia, snowfall in South Carolina, sunlight on snow, wildlife
When I woke this morning, the whole house looked different, almost dreamy, and with a slightly blue tint. After drifting through the rooms in wonderment, I finally figured out that it was the sunlight bouncing off all of that pure white snow, causing everything to look suddenly much brighter, even in the rooms with the blinds still drawn.
Now that effect is mostly gone. We’ve witnessed a rapid melt here today. At first, it appeared to be a second snowfall — until you realized the white stuff was coming from the trees. Later, the frozen bits turned into water, and the steady and delicate drip-dripping combined strangely with the sound-deadening effect of snow in a landscape, punctuated by periodic heavy thuds overhead as chunks of fallen snow assaulted the roof.
Here’s a fun bit of snow trivia, as we see the rest of our two inches disappear:
Did you realize that yesterday there was some snow in all 50 U.S. states? (Yes, this includes Hawaii, where a sprinkle fell on the two tallest volcanoes.)
I think you can now understand, by looking at this picture taken from my front door at about 10 a.m., exactly why lack of adequate sunlight is our biggest issue in the kitchen garden. These trees surround us on all sides, with only two small clearings, one in the back and one on the side of the house, and while we welcomed their shade during the heat of the summer, especially when going without air conditioning, their presence is not conducive to the growing of healthy sunflowers, beans, and tomatoes.
The only reason we are able to do so at all is because the angle of the summer sun puts it directly overhead at midday, and morning light falls on the back bed once the dawn sun clears the treeline, while the evenings are reserved for the side yard, where pre-sunset light slices through the space cleared to cut the lane down into the hollow.
Still, despite our struggles to accommodate my vegetable darlings who love full sun, I love living in the protective embrace of the forest. The trees provide privacy, so that the only way to tell there are a few other houses in the area is by seeing their lights wink on after dark, or glimpse a bright swath of snow-blanketed roof in the distance, as I did this morning. They also deaden the sound of the relatively nearby four-lane state road, while allowing the sweetly haunting nighttime whistles of the passing trains to carry faintly to us.
And I cannot regret our brushes with wildlife, even if my sunflower seed growing experiments are failures for it. There’s our owl, which I’ve mentioned several times I know. I’ve never seen her (or him) yet, but her nightly serenades near our bedroom window are part of the enchantment of my life here, and are especially potent magic on moonlit nights.
So far we have seen woodchucks, raccoons, rabbits, several deer, foxes, and of course innumerable birds, chipmunks, and squirrels. An encounter with a coyote one evening when I sat alone on the porch made the hair stand up on the back of my neck; meeting his steady, amber gaze was something like recognizing the wildness in one’s own soul, and realizing how domesticated we modern humans have become — for better and for worse.
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, with or without snow, whether you live under the forest canopy or in an urban jungle, and that your plans for Valentine’s Day or the Chinese New Year, if you celebrate either, are going smoothly.