Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Cruel Winter

After several mild winters, this January is descending into ice and stinging cold, with temperatures to bottom out at ten below zero this weekend. The snow has frozen to a hard, irregular crust, making even walking in the woods difficult. The wildlife is suffering; the deer can't break through the ice to forage. The rabbits have become nigh invisible; besieged by hunger and the cold north wind snaking through the woods, and the constant watchfulness of hawks during the day and owls at night.
The coldest spell I've seen here in Iowa was one terrible winter where the temperature fell to minus 37. That storm came roaring in at night, with winds of 40-45 miles an hour, pushing the wind chill to a hundred below zero. I lived at that time in a thick woods of red cedars, and I went out that night for a walk. The storm boomed and howled in the tops of the trees; it was a clear night with a full moon, but wind driven ice crystals turned the sky milky, and the moon pale and wan. The next morning dawned clear, and as I drove to work, I noticed numerous black spots on the snow across many of the corn fields; they were dead birds, especially larger birds like crows. They had frozen to death during the night, their bodies strewn carelessly across the fields by the wind.
Weather here in Iowa is not just a backdrop for our lives; it is a palpable thing; it can be kind and forgiving, but not this year... it is a cruel winter. Posted by Picasa

Great description of winter. It's chilling just to read it.
How beautiful, and terrible, and true. Hope you stay warm this weekend.
I never want to experience THAT kind of Winter...and I thought our winters in Illinois were bad!! Geesh!
And it wasn't that long ago we were all remarking on how mild it was . . .
Thanks for all your comments... now they're saying it's to get to 14 below instead of 10 below... great!
Hi Don,

I just noticed you had linked my blog on your list and I did not have your link on mine. So I've gone ahead and added you link to my garden bloggers list that link me. Thanks for the link and keep up the good work.
thanks, Mister... I've been enjoying your blog, so linked it... good work!
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