A winter most fowl

One of the things I most love about blogging is “meeting” other bloggers around the world. It’s wonderful to see that the flowers are blooming in Scotland, or to momentarily mistake Paris for Marrakesh.

But this far-flung news can also be depressing. I live in Minnesota, you see. Tucked up against Canada — in the northern U.S. — there are parts of my state that are wild and beautiful. But there are other parts I can’t stand. Like winter, for instance.

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Winter in Minnesota can be long, dark, and harsh. I was reminded of this fact last Thursday when it started to snow … again.

Patio 1060520 BLOG

New Bohemia 1060519 BLOG

The wet, heavy slush made for difficult driving.

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Snow tracks 1060495 BLOG

But that didn’t keep a few hardy souls from braving the weather.

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Dogwalk 1060522 BLOG

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By that evening, the front of my house looked like a Christmas card …

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… and by Friday morning, the back lot was almost impassible.

Driveway 1060568 BLOG

Still, there was something compelling about the wintry landscape. I decided to take a break from my work and go for a quick mid-morning walk.

Snowy path 1060606 BLOG

Of course, there’s no such thing as a “quick” walk after a heavy snowfall. Every step requires concentration and balance — and twice the usual effort.

But it’s so worth the effort! I love the stillness of the woods under a heavy, white down blanket. The noises of the city sound distant and remote, echos of an alternate reality.

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Snowy path 1060611 BLOG

Relieved of the need to listen, my attention instead turns to seeing. Among the twigs, my mind conjures the shapes of playful rabbits.

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Rabbit ears 1060620 BLOG

Amid the twigs, I also see the first signs of spring.

Budwatch 1060662 BLOG

Even last fall’s leaves bear testament to the coming thaw.

Leaf in snow 1060719 BLOG

But as I slog through the snow, spring still seems so conceptual — and so improbable. Until suddenly, my ears find their purpose again. It’s a Cedar Waxwing.

Cedar waxwing 1060803 BLOG

Cedar waxwing 1060831 FB

I add the diminutive presage to my mental tally. The robins have arrived, too …

Robin 1060813 BLOG

… the Great Horned Owl is raising her young …

Great horned owlet 1050910 BLOG

… my neighbors are leaving their car windows open …

Snowy car 1060413 BLOG

… and a few random objects are starting to peek tentatively out of the snow.

Tailpipe 1060852 BLOG

Surely, the warm sunshine and green grass must be just around the corner?

I give it one more week: If the snow’s not gone by then, I’m moving to Morocco.


  1. Love these pictures!!! Im down in Australia, right on the east coast, so we get zero snow and every time I see photos of it I feel so jealous and wistful (though I’m sure I’d have second thoughts if I lived in it every year!) your photos look idyllic – I love them! Enjoy your last burst of winter for awhile before the warmth hits 🙂

    • I think it’s a central part of the human condition that we always want what we don’t have, isn’t it, banphrionsa? At this moment, I would most gladly trade you my idyllic snowy surroundings for your beaches and sunshine! But I will instead take your wise advice to heart, and do my best to enjoy the last burst of winter. Thanks so much for stopping by, and cheers from across the planet! 😀

    • By … buy … bye? No matter the spelling, I really appreciate your kind comment, Rich! And I hope you know you’re always welcome to tag along on my photo safaris. No fancy camera required! (Heck, *I* didn’t have a DSLR for this adventure, so why should you?) Anyway, thank you!

    • You’re so sweet, Pollyanna. Thank you … so glad you liked the trees. Sorry you were disappointed by the lack of chickens, though. I was trying to be clever with my “fowl” reference, since I had so many shots of birds. But perhaps I stretched the term a bit too far? In any case, there may indeed be chickens in my near future, if my husband and I stay in the home we’re renting: It has a chicken coop in the back yard! So hang in there; you may still get your wish. 🙂

        • Haha, Pollyanna! You’re right … that could be an excellent title. Shall we add to it our lists of “posts that beg to be written”? (My all-time favorite is still, “It started with the coconuts.” Pity I’ve never taken that narrative any further. 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, Fiona. I’ve always had a soft spot for the waxwings, so I was delighted to finally meet one who would actually sit still! I’m taking it as a good omen. 🙂

  2. I can only endorse the sentiments expressed in the first comment (being as I am writing from a simiar point of view). My family almost migrated from Scotland to Canada back in the Sixties; but when my father found out what winter in Toronto was like, he quickly altered course for the antipodes. Your wintry images are beautiful and I envy you those opportunities. But if I add up all the fractions of a second it took for your to capture them and compare that to the balance of time you’ve had to endure the cold and inconvenience of snow and ice for no (photographic) reward, I think how fortunate we are down here to have temperatures that rarely dip below 0 centigrade. Rug up till it’s over.

    • Be glad that your father had such foresight, Xpat — and such uncommon common sense. I often wonder how many highlanders arrived in the New World, only to be disappointed by the weather! And you’re right that my images represent only a fraction of the time I’ve spent enduring the snow and the gray skies. But I will take your advice and rug up until it’s over. Not much longer, I think. And if I’m wrong … well, how do you feel about visitors? 😀

  3. I’m right next to you in Wisconsin. It snowed again today, but at least it didn’t stick. Your pictures are gorgeous, but like me, I’m sure you’d rather see that in December. Let’s hope the coming week brings more signs of spring and less snow!

    • Ah, bikerchick57 … I feel your pain! Thanks for your sweet words about my photos. I’ll repost them for us later this summer, when we’re both complaining about the humidity and the heat, eh? In the meantime, be strong! It’s storming to beat the band here right now, so you’ll likely be getting a good drenching in a few hours. C’mon, spring!! 🙂

  4. My ex-boyfriend lived in Minnesota from a year, having moved there from the south of France. I think Minnesotan winters were a shock for him… Even if they do make for some beautiful photography. (I especially love the image of the tyre tracks on the road seen from above.)

    • My condolences to your ex-boyfriend, Michael! I can imagine his shock, especially after living in the south of France (I was dragged here in mid-February after years of living in Mexico and Peru, so I really *can* imagine his shock!). But as you say, it can also be quite beautiful here, and there are millions of cultural opportunities. One always has to take the good with the bad, I suppose, and try to make the best of it. In any case, thank you for your kind words, and for stopping by. Cheers!

  5. What a beautiful batch of photos! I’m such a sucker for when the snow sticks to the branches like that…and your bunny rabbit observation made me giggle. And like Michael above me, I liked the tire track shot as well.

    Sad face for being stuck in a weather pattern you don’t like. 😦

    But happy face for making great blogger’s lemonade out of icy frozen lemons. 🙂

    • You’re the best, Corey. Thank you for the sympathy 😦 and for the encouraging words 🙂 . After I sent out my post yesterday, we had a wild thunderstorm and then (I think?) a weak tornado. So perhaps those photos are the last snow you and I will see for a while. In the meantime, I raise my icy lemonade and toast to your good health. Cheers!

  6. Love the twig bunnies 🙂 and that tunnel through the snowy trees looks magical. But I know what you mean about enough snow already, this year spring is so late.

    • “Magical” is *exactly* the word for this landscape, knotrune! I really felt as if I’d slipped through a wardrobe and into a wintry enchanted land. But then my toes started to freeze and my fingers turned purple, and the bunnies turned out to be just twigs. So yes … enough snow! (Never mind that it’s snowing AGAIN and that they’re predicting another half meter by morning.) Still, we must make the most of our circumstances, musn’t we? Perhaps I’ll spot some more “bunnies” for you tomorrow morning. Thanks so much for stopping by — and keep up the good work with your challenge!

  7. Wow, stunning images, loved the one of the road tracks. Where were you standing? I’ll try not to complain about Danish winters being so long again. Finally spring has broken through albeit it well so long to me. I am African after all. 😉

    • If you’re an African living in Denmark, I think you have *every* right to complain about the winters in your new home! How many of them have you endured now? And do you find that it’s getting easier, or more difficult over time? As for the image of the tire tracks: I shot that from my office building’s window. I’m on the ninth floor, where I very much enjoy the bird’s-eye view. In any case, I hope spring comes soon to both our corners of the world. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      • Oh this has been the 5th one, although I did live in England for 12 years before then, so I am used to long winters, just not so incredibly cold. I love snow though, and somehow with the snow the winter seems shorter, but I’m not sure why it just seemed awfully long this year. The sun was shining today though and no more snow. 🙂 Hope it breaks through soon your way. 😉

  8. I love the pictures … but not the weather! You know that we had our worst snow in Paris for 24 years this year … it was at least two inches deep! That’s quite enough for me. I do hope that your Spring appears very soon.

    • Ah, yes … I was well aware of all the snow you got in Paris this year — because I wanted desperately to photograph my favorite city under its while mantle. Ironically and alas, the Parisian snow proved elusive (or maybe my timing was just bad). In any case, it looks like we’ll both get plenty of sunshine in the coming week. Perhaps you’ll get out and do another of your wonderful sound walks? Greetings from across the pond!

  9. Wonderful pictures. I live in northeast Wisconsin, and your weather has been colder and snowier than ours, but today marks a wee spell of warmer weather for us, so revel in it. However, for me, it is always “colder by the lake” in spring and summer. Love your blog.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Barbalene! You just made my day! It seems surreal that spring felt so elusive just one week ago … today I actually felt overheated in my car, and now we’re debating whether to sleep with the windows open. Incredible how quickly the weather can change in the Midwest, isn’t it? Well, warm greetings from Minnesota, and thanks so much for stopping by!

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