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.

26 Responses to “melting”

  1. Really? All 50 states got snow? I’ll be darned!

  2. Dear Meredith, That there was snow in all 50 USA states at one time must surely be something of a record. Amazing.

    The view from your hall door is wonderful, those superb trees soaring upwards, but I am well able to understand the problems you encounter of growing vegetables which require full sun. Still perseverance conquers, or so we are told.

    • It seems incredible to me, Edith, knowing all of our different climates and how varied the bioregions in those 50 states. 🙂 As for the shade issues, you’re right that it’s all about perseverance. Or at least, that seems to win the day… eventually.

  3. Wonderful to live among natures spirits.
    Luckily our veggie friends yearn for life and will grow for you there.
    Happy Valentines day to you and your new hb.

  4. I welcomed our recent snow because it muffles the noise from a busy main road which is near the house. Sympathies for your attempts at growing vegetables in the shade. With by no means as many trees as you but still with a shady garden I gave up and got an allotment a couple of miles from home 🙂

    • Anna, no allotments to be had here, sad to say. 😦 But that’s a clever solution to the problem. We’ve just enjoyed seeing what will tolerate a bit of shade and still produce for us (surprisingly quite a lot).

  5. I am surrounded by trees as well, but luckily have a south facing side of the house that is just outside the shade line where I’ve put my garden. But the full sun space is very limited, so I have to be very selective in planting things that require full sun. Makes for some tough decisions! We also have a resident owl that sounds like he is right in the bedroom some nights. And of course, deer and wild turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks, lots of birds and even a large snapping turtle last summer! And a duck who decided to swim in our covered pool last Spring that had accumulated a bit of water. But I’ve never seen a coyote or fox, thankfully. I enjoy watching the wildlife, and sharing our space with them. And iIthink the snow is quite beautiful and enjoy winter, although I do miss my gardening.

    • Linda, we’ve both been singled out for owl serenades, how delightful! We did see a few turtles last year, but ours were all box, not snapping. Watch your fingers with those guys. 🙂

  6. beautiful header. it’s snowing outside my window as a write this. jim

  7. This unaccustomed snow was quite fun and beautiful. I loved getting up this morning and looking at it, as well.

  8. Meredith, your photo taken from your door is lovely. I had heard about snow in 49 states, on the news, but not about the snow over parts of Hawaii…which really makes for an unusual day! I grew up in the northeast (PA) and moved several times until HS (NY, OH, ME)…so I know snow, too! Our recent blizzard(s) really stirred up the child within all of us;-) Glad you had that chance to play yesterday. It sounds like your yard is a wonderful natural habitat…and though the shade prevents you from certain types of gardening, it is all worth it for the peace the trees and wildlife bring to you;-)

    • Jan, doesn’t it, though? How strange that Mother Nature managed that feat. I think it is natural in that no one is bothering it or interested in it. Not too far from here they were going to “develop” a section of the forest to provide more housing in proximity to the lake — but financial issues stopped it before they’d done more than clear a path with a bulldozer. So there are some upsides to the current mess, I guess. You are so right about the peace it brings!

  9. You write with such descriptive richness that I can close my eyes and practically see the scene unfolding. I need to read more…

  10. Meredith, I have often had the experience of waking up on an early winter morning to find that the world is strangely hushed and my bedroom is filled with a wonderful luminosity. And then I know that we got our first major snowfall during the night, and I jump out of bed to look out the window. It’s magical. -Jean

  11. I did not know that fact about snow in all 50 states. cool. That’s a gorgeous photo of the woods!

  12. I heard the same thing – though it was 49 of the states. I didn’t hear about the Hawaii snow and that makes it even more amazing. And strange.

    I couldn’t live without trees surrounding my home. We have huge old black walnuts and pines that tower over us and always make me feel protected.

    Hope you and F. are having a fabulous weekend and if you celebrate Valentine’s Day, I hope it’s beautifully romantic. 🙂

  13. Those still snowy trees are just beautiful Meredith, as is the thought of waking to a gently glowing home.
    My hat is certainly off to you growing your veges amongst all the trees, what a challenge! I can almost picture you cradling little seedlings from one patch of sunlight to the next 🙂

    • LOL, Heidi, I’m not quite that dedicated. 🙂 Last year was the time of discovering exactly where the sun would reach and how long it would stay on which parts of the garden. I’d tried to guesstimate after taking measurements for several days in early spring, but they were off because, of course, the angle of the sun changes quite dramatically. This year I’ll have better results, I hope, because I know exactly which plants can stand more shade and still produce, as well as where the best sunny corners are!

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