Writing My Life

Now and Then


… January thaw – HA! …

Just as I LOVE Indian summers in the autumn, I also appreciate January thaws in the winter. And I suppose temperatures in the 30s rather than in single digits qualifies – IN THE ARCTIC! Seriously, the mild boost does feel a bit warmer, and I am thankful that it does. The problems, however, are these. 

1. Temperatures are not rising enough to melt the OLD snow that has fossilized around our cottage-on-the-green. We can seriously walk on TOP of 6 inches of snow, and we have been able to do that for weeks-going-on-months! We could live with this, but we received a notice from the homeowners association, AKA Gestapo, demanding that we remove the snow on the sidewalk in front of our home. 

G.E. is usually a stickler about removing snow from our driveway and  sidewalks in front of our house as well as that of 

"Workin' on the chain gang ..."

the neighbors’, but the last series of storms started on Sunday and kept falling for days leading up to Christmas. G.E. sees snow removal as an ox in the mire, so he is not above shoveling and snow-blowing on the Sabbath. That Sunday, however, was filled with meetings, and he only had minimal time to work on his duty to the community. Unfortunately, his wife doesn’t do snow and his “failure-to-launch” son was conveniently out of town – meaning he was up in Salt Lake. 

The point of this rambling is that the snow on the sidewalk was left to CURE. Removing it was a task like unto digging out concrete as you can see from the above picture. Had we enjoyed a TRUE January thaw, this chore would not have required a chain gang. 

2. Nearly every winter, the Wasatch Front attracts a high barometric pressure equal to the Iron Curtain that staves off any attempt of low pressures to push the bully aside. This results in trapped, dirty, hazy, disgusting air down here in the valley. Such air is bad for breathing and for morale. We all walk around coughing, wheezing, and moping. 

Before Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) sucks us down into the depths of winter oblivion, we must seek relief. One remedy is to get above the soup in the basin by driving up to Park City – except you are weak from the coughing and wheezing. Another help – a wimpy one, I admit – is to  find something good in the goop. And here’s my attempt. 

Fog often accompanies the haze – okay, I know that’s called smog – but when there is enough moisture in the FOG, Mother Nature coats trees and plants in hoar-frost. In spite of the creepy adjective, hoar, the effect is really beautiful. And on my drive to work Friday, I had to stop and snap photos of the frost because it really was lovely! AND because hoar-frost ALWAYS reminds me of Vienna.   

The pictures really don’t do justice to the scene of Bangerter Highway lined with frosted trees that elicited an “Ahhhh” from me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t click my CoolPix while zipping along at 60 mph, but I did pull off into a neighborhood, and, feeling rather like a snoopy private detective, I snapped these. 

Not exactly the Vienna Woods, but still eye-catching!

"The FROSTING is the BEST part!"

Nature's Lace

Even brambles are inviting!

Desert Hoar-Frost


Day 3 ~ Indian Summer: Gift from Ma Nature

I nky blackness veils the valley, signaling the return of the clocks’ set-back;

N earing Winter stalks the shorter days, but 

D eparts mere hours after Southern Winds

I nterrupt the first scrimmage. 

A utumn claims the victory.

N ow and again glimmers of gold

S himmer among aspens and

U ndulate across fields.

M ild warmth weaves a

M ist that huddles against foothills.

E rasing cold snaps and hard frosts.

R ain, turning to snow – not yet.

The term “Indian Summer” is a romantic one, I think. It’s long been in my vocabulary, along with the definition: a few days, maybe weeks, of warm weather – unexpected warmth, just when we’re bracing ourselves for winter. As I remember, this little respite often follows a “killing frost,” and some don’t consider the renewal of shirtsleeve weather an Indian Summer at all if that doesn’t happen.

I recently learned that the Rocky Mountain area is not usually associated with Indian Summers, and I beg to differ. Autumns in Idaho often included this pleasant surprise – not every year, but often enough that I always hoped for one.

Bill Deedler, weather historian, quoted a description of Indian Summer in his 2005 column: “The air is perfectly quiescent and all is stillness, as if Nature, after her exertions during the Summer, were now at rest.” While John Bradbury painted this word picture in 1817, the term actually reaches back to the 1700s, but TODAY Utah’s citizens reveled in the warmth of an Indian Summer day in November.

We thank you, Ma Nature!