Snowed In

Snow at Home_5661acs Snow at Home_5660acsThe mere threat of a snowstorm is enough to induce panic. We scurry to the store to buy milk, bread and eggs – obviously in desperate need of French toast – and then hunker down as if we won’t be free of our homes for a month. When the snow stops, all we can see is the hours of shoveling, and the icy roads on which we’ll have to skid our way around town. We’ve lost our childhood delight in the wonders of the falling snow, in the way it transforms even the most familiar landscapes.

Fortunately, there’s a cure for this malady, and it’s a simple as picking up a camera and looking at the white-frosted world through its lens.

During the storm, a Carolina chickadee finds shelter in a gray birch tree, while a dark-eyed junco finds plenty to eat under my bird feeders.Snow at Home_5624acs

Snow at Home_5634acsMr. Squirrel ignores the food in front of him, and instead plots to raid the can of birdseed. The grass is always greener to our furry friend.

HNWR In Snow_8817a HNWR In Snow_8924acsA sunny day right after the storm entices us out to walk the trails at Heinz NWR.

This is the first time I’ve seen the Refuge covered in snow, and it’s delightful. Even the most ordinary things take on a new look.

Our old friend the chicken fungus now wears the face of Old Man Winter.

HNWR In Snow_8890a HNWR In Snow_8780aSparrows flit about among the grasses. We see tiny bird tracks and larger deer tracks everywhere. The snow is like Facebook for critters, recording their every movement for us to read.

HNWR In Snow_9005a HNWR In Snow_8863a HNWR In Snow_8902a HNWR In Snow_8931acs HNWR In Snow_8872aWinter is the time for beavers to get busy.

Frost_9058acs 2 Even a 2° morning has its charms. The polar vortex etches little ice feathers on my windows. Look quickly! The warmth of the house starts melting these beauties before I can even finish photographing them.

It’s so easy to come down with a case of snow panic with every storm. We all need to slow down, stop worrying and put down the shovel long enough to partake of the cure. An unhurried walk in a winter wonderland gives us a fresh look at our familiar world, and the gentle touch of Mother Nature’s magic lifts our souls.  HNWR In Snow_8909a

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