Open Winter

Crunching along, stepping across patches of aging ice, picking my way to the bog.

OPen winter NYT, January 1, 1896
New York Times, January 1, 1896

The going in the woods is easier now. This is an “open” winter, in New England parlance, my the second in Plainfield.

There is little or no snow on the ground, it’s warmer than usual. I don’t like it, but I am consoling myself with the thought that if it has a name, it cannot be a brand new phenomenon. And it isn’t, if we believe the New York Times of January 1, 1896. The winter of 1819, I just saw in a book about Leyden, MA, was known as the “hot” winter, with mosquitoes in February. Much as I believe we have irreparably changed the climate scene, this is still New England doing its thing.

The ice that made it hard to venture forth is old and slowly disappearing, first sublimating into freezing air, now melting. First offering a peek and then, briefly enlarging and preserving the imprint of texture and shape as if in a dream held on to upon waking, it disappears around each and every little twig, leaf, stone, or smallest particle that absorbs the strengthening heat of the sun, presenting them on a silver tray to the passer-by willing to drop on her knees and have a look. But slowly, for it is deep winter yet, despite the warming days.

Open access to the woods. Frozen bog open for business. Open water rimmed with ice. Things could be worse.

2 thoughts on “Open Winter

  1. Thanks for reminding me of the “natural” variability of the weather here, but underneath that understanding, I share your concern. I brought a butterfly in last week, thinking she was dead. She was a Question Mark butterfly, one that winters over as an adult. She revived in less than 20 minutes. That is not a good sign. I put her back into her winter headquarters so as not to further interrupt her slumber.

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