Friday, December 12, 2008

First Snow Of The Season

Last Sunday, I walked through the fields and woods of Wangunk Meadows until I ended up in this pumpkin field in Glastonbury. Where's Charlie Brown?
I managed to avoid the high winds that had been predicted for that day and instead found the air to be still and refreshing. The snow that fell Sunday barely coated the ground but it was enough to bring back some fond memories. I reminisced about how I used to build snow forts with the neighborhood kids , stage elaborate snowball fights, and race down Foss Hill with my Flexible Flyer. I remember one Christmas Eve when we looked out the door and saw snow rapidly accumulating on the roads and sidewalks. The giant snowflakes had a magical quality to them as they fell silently in front of the streetlights. This inspired a group of family and friends to go from doorstep to doorstep singing Christmas carols. The whole experience was like a scene from a Dicken's novel.
The falling snow seemed to muffle the sounds of distant noises like planes and traffic. This seemed to make the chatter of the birds more clear and distinct. I wonder if I could tell if it was snowing simply by the smell and sound of the air?
The birds were very active on this morning as they usually are when it snows. Watching them search for food reminded me of people who rush out to the store as soon as they hear the word snow in the forecast. People stock up on food as though their lives depended on it. The difference being that the lives of birds do depend on their ability to find food. Can you find the hidden bird in the above photo?
During much of the year, I tend to look past some of the more common birds because I'm looking for migrants. Winter is a time that I'm more able to appreciate birds like this Black-capped Chickadee.
I admire the ability of birds that manage to survive through tough winters. It's hard to believe that cardinals were once a southern species. I saw over a dozen male cardinals during Sunday's
walk. Cardinals always seem to be most stunning against a snowy background. Most of the birds I saw were the same that I might see at my feeders this time of the year. Goldfinches, various woodpeckers, titmice, and sparrows. The exceptions would be the Swamp Sparrows, Red-tailed hawks, and Eastern Bluebirds that I encountered. Still, for some reason, there's something special about all the birds during the first snow of the season.
click to play
What are some of your fondest memories of snow?


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your winter wonderland. We may be getting our first snow of the season here at sea level in Western Washington State.

Ruth said...

I do remember being so excited seeing snow for the first time. I was in 3rd grade and it started snowing while we were in school. We had just moved to Canada from South Africa. Now I am happiest when I see the last of it melt in April.

Lana Gramlich said...

Your white throated sparrow is showing. ;) Love the shot of the cardinal. I have happy memories of sledding w/my bro & others, but I was young & stupid then & didn't realize that cold & snow are horrible, evil things (of course, coming down with mild frostbite years later had a hand in changing my mind, but I digress.)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

These pixs ae really nice Larry. I had to click to enlarge to find the hidden bird. I too love the extra quietness when it snows. It makes my ears feel funny.
Favorite snow memories?
-How about snow days from school when the snow was so deep and it had drifted above the bottom of our picture window.
-We used to go sledding on a wicked steep and bumpy hill but instead of saucers we used vegetable boxes from the neighbor's grocery store. They were waxed on the inside so we'd cut them open and slide on them with the waxed side down. SO FAST!
-We grew up with a skating rink a block away. When I was too little to lace my skates myself, Mom would lace them, then put skate guards on the blades and I'd walk to the rink that way. We'd skate until our feet were numb.

Larry said...

Lana-Frostbite-yikes! Evil snow? Watch out where the huskies go!

Lynne-Using vegetable boxes from the local grocery store for sledding-now that is a classic memory! I've never even tried to skate-I don't care much for falling on ice but I'm sure it's probably fun.-Maybe I'll try itsome day as long as I have knee and elbow pads on.

Larry said...

Natural Moments-Thanks for stopping by.

Ruth-I'm glad when it's over with too but I still enjoy the first couple of snowstorms,despite the incovenience.

Mary C said...

My fondest memories? I guess I would have to say school closures and we would all have fun sledding on the side streets and our back alley. I think I liked building snowmen more than sledding, but it was fun when we would have an extra day off from school.
Larry, I loved that video of your downy - that was so cute.

Mary said...

That's a White-throated sparrow hidden in that photo - took me a minute, but I found it.

Larry, I grew up in MD - yes, your memories of snow falling are similar to mine.

"I wonder if I could tell if it was snowing simply by the smell and sound of the air?"

Yes, an impending snowfall does make the outdoors smell differently and the sounds are definitely muffled but clear.

Wow. Our Flexible Flyers took us on the most dangerous rides. If our Moms knew... I think snow days are my favorite childhood memories. Coming inside for a change into dry clothes and a potty break - all the while, the clothes dryer working or clothing drying on the furnace. Hot soup. Back outside again. Numb fingers. Snow-caked stupid mittens. Sledding and snowball fights were especially fun after dark!

Thanks for the memories.

RuthieJ said...

My fondest memories of snow are from when we used to snowmobile in northern Minnesota. The trails would take us through wild places you'd never be able to see any other time of the year, so I got to see the biggest beaver lodge ever, osprey nests atop large power poles, and a pair of moose crossing the trail right in front of us. That was good fun.

Larry said...

Mary C.-I liked school closures too but the school I went to didn't usually close when the other ones did.-glad you liked the video.

Mary-You've got nice descriptions of these memories-Do I see a snow post coming in the future?

Ruthiej-Sounds like a place that I would appreciate seeing.

Unknown said...

I spent several years in Vermont and truly enjoyed the winters there.
Of course, by March I would be sick of it.

Kathie Brown said...

I found the litle white-throated sparrow. I could even see its yellow lores! I love the muffled sounds and shapes of a snowy landscape. Your little downy video brings it all back to me as I sit here in sunny AZ. Gus and I actually walked in our first snow in almost 2 years this past weekend when we were up in Flagstaff!