Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cold Cold Cold

Drifting aimlessly
Over the land
Through the trees
And settles
Out on the prairie
As a soft white blanket.
Dark-eyed Junco

Female Purple Finch
Tufted Titmouse


Follow me
So that we can see
Something old
Something new
Best of all
First footprints in the snow.

He blew on the frost on the pane of glass, making a molten pool and a peek hole to see outside. The day was so cold it was coming through all the walls of his cabin. Even throwing another log in the stove didn’t seem to heat up his home. He had layers of clothing over layers and still felt the chill. When he had went outside even the birds were moving slow, digging through the snow looking for food. His breath seemed to freeze as soon as it left his body and just hang in the arctic air.

This was the weather one often welcomed a visitor, just to bide time away and share a few stories. He thought of when he was trapping out west, and all the trappers would follow the warmth of spring, coming out of their mountain lairs. They sat for days telling tall tales and sharing stories of just staying alive. Winter could be harsh, but also gave many time to gather thoughts and provoke memories of time gone by. What had once been a frontier was now full of men seeking wealth and a new land. Many came and a few never left, perishing in the harsh country they had barely heard about.

He was returning to these tall mountains when he fell in love with this prairie he lived in now. He had heard of times when it was so barren of people that one could go months without seeing anyone. Now he could be in a small town in just a short ride. This town was at one time an outpost to protect the People from the invading settlers. Now it was a thriving city, full of settlers who had pushed the original inhabitants away. He felt the spirit of these lost peoples and wished he could have seen some of their settlements that had been there for decades. A few returned to see the ruin of their lands, shocked at how all had changed so fast.

He heard a scratching sound in his eves and felt a sting of cold air come down from up above the rafters. He climbed up into the loft and saw snow on the outside. A sound in one corner alarmed him, being alone for many days. When his eyes grew accustomed to the dim, he could see a tiny squirrel crouched in the corner. He thought about catching it for dinner, but it ran back through the hole. Going down below he grabbed a hammer and nails and went outside to repair this break in his privacy. He felt bad banning this woodland creature from the warmth of his home, but knew it would be more trouble if he didn’t. The squirrel chattered a goodbye as he climbed his ladder. He bid dinner goodbye and decided to go into town for a bit. Laughter filled the air when he told his tale of dinner running away, and filled his heart with joy sharing with others. He relived the story a few times, being carried home on a cold prairie breeze.
Halting our life
To sense all around
Takes only a moment
To share and astound.


  1. I can feel the cold through my computer screen....or is that coming through my window?
    Love the little mouse, and Lucky!

  2. Beautiful pictures. Love the withered plants and the bird, especially the last one of the birds.

  3. Well, you sure proved there's beauty all around, even with all the snow. You just have to get out there and look. It sure was nice to have some sunshine today. I could go for more days like this, but Mother Nature seems to have other tricks up her sleeves. :(

  4. The pictures are so lovely....chill me through and through. tough. lol Braise it with root veges and roat till tender. :)

  5. Brrrrrrrr...but also AHHHHHHHHH!!!! What lovely little critters!

    Thanks for your last comment. I was in Kansas lately but unable to visit old barns. I was stuck in the city! It was torment.....

  6. It does indeed look to be cold there! Another wonderful tale.

    We also have Sonic Happy hour but I usually miss it. :-( My favorite slush is the fresh lemon one,,and if I'm at home and in the mood for it, with a shot of Jose gold. :-)

  7. Brrrrrrrrrrr Steve... Those pictures make me cold --just seeing them. We are in a Winter Thaw right now... We had sunshine today and the temps were in the 50's... Even the Chipmunks woke up and came out to play today...... BUT--it's just a TEASE --as I'm sure we'll have more winter soon.

    Stay WARM...

  8. They do all look very very cold but also quite lovely. The birds are my favorites.

  9. Beautiful pictures, Steve. The fourth one looks like a boom microphone is being extended to the trees, to see what stories they might want to share. The leafy branch in the unmarred snow is lovely. And the birds and squirrel look chilled to the bone. A lovely series of images.

  10. What a nice variety of birds you have. I would be delighted to have Tufted Titmouse at my feeder. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog.

  11. I love this story. Sitting in the silence. Also, your titmouse is darling! And the little bird perched "Lucky". However you get such lovely close-ups of tiny animals is a mystery to me!

  12. Love the little Titmouse photos. I don't get them here for some reason.

  13. I love the photos, although I shivered while looking at them. The photo of the squirrel is my favorite. He looks like he has his little arms held close to his body to ward off the cold. The story is also beautiful.

  14. Hi Steve, the tufted titmouse photos were my varoite today, especially the last one. I have heard news reports of more winter weather headed for parts of the country. Here on the VA eastern shore predictions call for LOTS of rain. Good days to stay in and catch up on reading - books and blog posts. I plan to follow your link to Brenda's photo challenge and check it out. Thanks!

  15. seems like an appropriate title! that squirrel is posing awfully cutely :) Like the juncos too. Looks like you're ready to see some sun!

  16. Brrrr! It must be as cold there as it is here. Was 3 below here this morning. love your bird photos. You have the same kind of birds that we have here. I always love it when the squirrels stand up like cute! Stay warm!

  17. Note Lucky the squirrel is the one who grabbed my hand when I was offering it shell peanuts and bit me good.My mom used to make it fried with cream gravy for me as a kid when I hunted.He is cute so I forgave him. We are looking for a good storm today with 12-18 inches.

  18. Ah, the Tufted Titmouse. . . how endearing he is. And he looks like I feel when I step through my screen and enter your icy wonderland.

    I love that you feed your birds, Steve - they're so very different to the ones that alight on my bird feeder in New Zealand. Lucky we have this medium to introduce them to each other- or us to them.

    Thank you.

  19. Steve...your photos 'LOOK' cold and I am so glad we had warm temps yesterday and WEd. it will be 70! So I really don't think I'll be finding a seat on that bench in your photos if you don't mind!
    Your story reminded me of when I lived in Ohio 10 min. from the OSU campus and it was always so quiet in the summer and when fall came it seemed we 'locals' were invaded by all the students...I kind of felt resentful!
    lovely reading my friend and also, I too use to write letters by hand. Sometimes I miss it but I write so much faster by typing :) Thank you to Mrs. Rouser, my typing teacher!

  20. I was going to say how cute it is that you gave the squirrel a name..until I read your comment!
    We're also expecting our snow storm some time tomorrow afternoon.

  21. What starkly beautiful photos! Stay safe with this upcoming storm, the news tonight said it could be the biggest one ever!

  22. I thought about your chicken noodle soup last night, Steve. I sure would have welcomed a bowl!

    I sure do understand your mom, too. I only stay in bed if there is absolutely no way around it. Last time I spent five days in bed was in 2008, when the doctor said bed or the hospital! I couldn't even walk to the door that time. Otherwise... moms in general cannot stand to watch the house fall apart! :D

  23. No doubt, one of your best stories yet, but of course I love the cold weather so this is not really a totally objective opinion.

    Your stories have so much heartfelt emotion. Thanks for sharing, and I really, really liked the photo of Lucky and the one of the evening primrose.

  24. Stunning photos, a background of fresh fallen snow looks really magical. I enjoyed all your photos, especially the ones of the squirrel and birds, but the one of the tracks was mesmerizing. Enjoyed your latest story. Hard to imagine living way back when, being all alone with nothing to see but a white cover over the land. Again, magical!

  25. Loved the cute story & personally glad he didn't catch his dinner. Too sad for me.. ha!

    It is freezing here too. Hairy driving yesterday and today a 'snow day'.. Yea! Hoping for another one tomorrow whenever I hear the wind blowing outside.

    Stay Safe and Warm! ~ Coreen

  26. No snow here but its cold, cold, cold too !
    That is the reason why a lot of birds come and eat in my bird restaurant.
    Beautiful photos !

  27. I'm in total awe of the beauty you've captured. The leaves on the snow are poignant. Beautifully done, thank you!

  28. The snow showed up well with your birds and squirrel. Your first dark-eyed junco looked different from the ones I've seen, which look like your second one. Is one male and the other female?

    I like your deadheads and such in the snow, too.

  29. Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    Gung Hee Fat Choy!


    Good Luck in the
    Year of the Golden Rabbit!


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