Home in Rocky Point Oregon: current temperature 36 Degrees F high 43 low 25 partly sunny
Winter is long in this part of Oregon. The snows start in earnest in November, with a few skiffs sometimes showing up in October. The snow can be deep, and while we can get down to zero F for a week or so, the winters aren’t nearly as bad as places like Minnesota or the Dakotas. Still, they are long. I love winter at Christmas time. I love winter in January when I can enjoy it and then take off for California. I love winter in February least of all, and ever since I moved from California to snow country in Northern Idaho back in the early 70’s I have done everything possible to get out of winter in February.
But winter in March is different. Even though it is cold and the snow is really tiresome by now, it feels different. The days are getting longer, just a bit, but it isn’t dark any more at 4:30 in the afternoon. When it snows, it is usually a bit wetter, and there are patches of blue amid the fluff of snowy clouds. The air feels different. And the birds are back.
Early in the morning I can hear them down by the lake, but they are out on the water in places we can’t get to yet with the snow and ice all around. Still, we walked down there this morning to get the mail. Gingerly picking our way through the re-frozen slush in the driveway and hoping our boots didn’t crash through the crusty snow banks down by the water. When I went in to town yesterday, in the midst of a blustery snow storm, I saw open water along the edges of the lake, and saw that the swans had returned. I only had the iPad with me, and there was traffic and snow, so it was a quick photo, but it still made me really feel the difference between the deepening winter feeling of December and the promise of winter eventually ending. Maybe not in March, but still eventually it will end.
There is an aerial survey of the birds in Klamath Basin that is updated regularly, and even back on January 30, we had almost 44,000 tundra swans in the refuge complex. I love the swans especially, and the snow geese, they look like flapping sheets in the wind when they fly in unison and rise and fall over the landscape.
I am still having a bit of trouble writing about Florida. My friend Bel, in my life for 19 years, passed away while I was there. I was with her when she passed, probably the hardest thing I have ever done, and yet a gift I will always be grateful for. If you read my blog in the past, you know about Bel and my visits to her, my worries over her access to health care, some of her life difficulties. This is our happy fun travel blog, how in the world do I talk about this here? I guess I just can’t. Up close family, up close friends, real words coming out of real mouths with sound, seem to be the only appropriate way for the moment. I didn’t plan to say anything at all when I started this blog, and yet some of you are those real friends with real words who were there for me on the phone and on Facebook, of all places, as I was going through it. So I needed to acknowledge that somehow after all and thank you. Enough for now.
On the way home from Florida I was so happy to have almost three full days in San Antonio with my daughter Deborah. She took off work on Thursday and Friday and we spent our time together driving around to places she loved in her new home, seeing where she worked, eating great Texas food that her sweetie prepared for us. I ate ribs and cole slaw and Texas beans and cheese bread and brisket and omigosh…the heartburn! I am not used to eating like that, but it sure was fun to let go for a few days in spite of the heartburn.
We checked out some quilt shops and picked out fabrics for the quilt I will make for her someday, we wandered off to Palmetto State Park and Lyndon B Johnson State Park, and spent a night in lovely Fredericksburg. It was cool and breezy while I was there, but the sun was brilliant and gorgeous. South Texas is a great place this time of year, even though the blue bonnets have yet to burst. The grasses are greening up, and did I mention that sunshine? Ahhhh. It was so healing to be with Deborah, who knew and loved Bel, to have her to talk with about it. I was blessed by two daughters on this trip actually, with Deanna re-routing a Tampa load to go through Ocala, where she met me for a long breakfast full of big hugs. Daughter Melody stayed with me on the phone a lot and son John called a few times as well, and of course Mo and Maryruth and my long time friend Laura from Coeur d Alene, a respiratory RN. It was wonderful to have so much support and understanding.
It was good to get back home. I did a deep clean on the house before I left, and Mo was away at her brother’s while I was gone, so we came home to a cozy, clean, wonderful home. Mo beat me home by a day, so when I returned the house was still sparkly but was WARM with a nice big fire going. Snow still on the ground, but sunshine and blue skies were wonderful. And silence. The nights are so dark and starry under the hot tub and the silence is just so SILENT! No street lights, no traffic, no trains, all the stuff of towns and cities are absent here in the forest.
We are settling in, enjoying home a bit before we decide just when to wander off to the cottage in Grants Pass and maybe get some beach time. Here at home I have a big quilt to finish binding, and fabric to play with, soil survey work waiting and all sorts of “retirement” projects that I still have yet to get to after three years as a retiree. I am never, never bored. Ever.