A dense cloud of snow is covering the landscape. Countless crystalline water droplets are meeting their demise in the relatively warm waters of the Patuxent River, but a ceaseless deluge of windswept snowflakes continues its assault on other available surfaces. They stack and merge with an unrelenting pace. Leaf tips wave their goodbye’s as they near complete submergence. Patches of green and brown poke through holes in the white sheet that is smoothing itself with each passing second. Winter has officially arrived in Southern Maryland.
The warm days of late summer melted seamlessly into crisp fall weather. Without warning, the treetops exploded into brilliant arrays of yellow, red, and orange. This brief and beautiful exposure gave way to brittle browns and tans. These leaves were finally shaken from their fingerholds and carpeted the ground. Now, barren branches whistle in the cold wind. Though the stifling heat of summer seems to be within a backward glance, winter’s icy grip has a stranglehold on the flora and fauna. The wait for spring’s green awakening has begun.
Wildlife tracks appear, only to be covered again- their crime scenes continually wiped clean by mother nature. Old man Winter has emerged from his hiatus in foreign climes and is seeking vengeance on those who have become too comfortable and complacent in the hazy peace of summer. The awakening is far ruder to those who have ignored the tell-tale signs of fall’s warnings.
A few days ago I awoke to a red dawn which has been the early warning system for seafarers for millennia…”red in morn’, sailors be warned.” It was blatantly obvious that something big was coming. I expected rain and a chill. Instead, I am being met with 3-5 inches of windswept powder, and temperatures plunging into the twenties. Extreme winter weather? Not by any means. For the area? More than I was expecting at the very least. One of the many instances in which I am grateful for the predictable, modest changes in a moderate climate-the enjoyment of unique seasons without the overbearing attributes of one or another for an unendurable timeframe.
Well. might as well accept the reality of the situation. Winter is here. There will be brief periods of reprieve with temperatures in the fifties, but for now I am getting mentally prepared for the majority of the coming days to be cold, dark, windy, and precipitous. Spring will come again, and I look forward to fresh air, warm sunshine, and a cacophony of new life emerging once again. Stay warm, my friends.