The Myth of Spring

They say March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. Around these parts, March roared like a lion for four solid weeks, and then toyed around with the idea of bleating softly for about three days at the end of the month. Since then, Mother Nature has been felinishly fickle – taunting us because we’re the prey she knows can’t escape.

Sure, we know it’s spring, and that this winter will end, but some days it just does not feel like it. Days like yesterday – when we had lake effect snow all day – and today – when the temperature was supposed to rise into the mid-40′s (~8C) but did not.

The sun shone brilliantly all day, I tricked myself into believing it was as toasty as it appeared. I even promised Petey we’d go on a hike after work, because who wouldn’t want to? Us, as it turns out. By which I mean Tony and me, because Petey was all about the sniffing. It must’ve been the smelliest trail he’s walked on. We didn’t notice. We were cold. The silver lining? The woods are showing some spring progress. 1 – No signs of snow :) 2 – Leeks are sprouting and other photosynthetic varieties are reaching sunward. Still, we took the short path, choosing not to meander onto exposed hilltops.

After cutting our walk short, we decided to hop over to the marina to see if Torch Lake had visibly melted since our last viewing. Driving by the south end yesterday, we noted quite a bit of liquid expanse and were hopeful for similar exposure nearby.
Torch under ice
No luck. In Alden, the ice still clings. And it’s not just a skim coat, in case you were wondering. Yesterday’s 17mph NNW winds pushed some ice up onto the rocks, so we can see just how thick it is floating on top of our precious turquoise lake.

Thick. Looks like winter is determined not to relinquish its icy grip yet, even though May is just around the corner. Still, our grass gets greener by the day, and our snow drifts shrink. Hope remains :)
ice and leaf

Returning to Ohio

In my last blog, I mentioned our trip to Ohio with the promise (threat) of more details. I won’t go into too many, but I wanted to share one of my favorite things from time there. As luck would have it, Tony and I were away down south while two of my nephews were on spring break from school. My sister didn’t have to work one day, so my mom threw together a trip to the Newport Aquarium.

There’s just something special about multi-generational gatherings. All the kids got to spend some quality time with an aunt (or two in Addi’s case), a mom (except Addi – who we borrowed from my brother for the day) and a grandma. Either we’re teaching them something constructive about women working together, or we’re teaching them that girls have more fun. Either way, I’m proud of our efforts ;)

The last time I went to this aquarium was when I was teaching high school science in Kentucky. Another teacher and I arranged a field trip there, which wouldn’t have been particularly memorable to me except for sitting on a bus chock full of freshmen who we had packed up immediately following lunch and then got trapped in the chaos of a bad interstate wreck. We sat in traffic (which I know is better than the fate of those involved in the crash :( ) for about six hours. With freshmen. Who had just eaten/drank and couldn’t exit the bus. !

This time the aquarium was just good fun with no traffic mishaps to mar the day. Like watching an animated film, trips to the aquarium or zoo are just better with little ones. They are brimming with wonder and silliness, and you can’t help but get pulled into their mindset. Don’t believe me? Check out our good times. (And in case you don’t read to the bottom, thanks Mom and Steph for a terrific day! Love you both tons!)

If you just want to see some of the cool things we admired, here’s another set. I warn you, though, they are not nearly as cute as those above ;)

Out of the Doldrums

I know, I know: it’s been a while. A few of you dear readers have not been shy about letting me know :) We’ve been doing things, even things worth sharing, but I’ve been stuck in some late winter doldrums. I realize the calendar says it’s spring, but it’s still winter here.

East Bay, as of Sunday. It’s still frozen; the ice out there is just clear.
still winter

Our neighborhood, yesterday
spring snow

Also yesterday, so it’s not all snow, but there’s enough
spring snow-2

Fortunately, we have had some good family and friend time to break things up. We went to Ohio and had a terrific family visit at the end of March (more on that later), and then shortly after we got back, we hosted our friends Melinda and Matt on a three-day eating marathon.

Melinda and Matt, in front of a frozen East Bay – on spring break
Melinda and Matt

I’d classify their trip otherwise, but really, all we did was talk, eat, and sleep. I managed to take Petey on a few walks, so it was entirely gluttonous…just mostly. Hanging out with non-local food lovers underscores how ridiculously spoiled for choice we are. And even after visiting several of our area favorites, Trattoria Stella wins best food by a landslide. So, next time you’re in my neck of the woods, give me a shout and we’ll go out for a swanky dinner. Or even better, a delicious and more affordable lunch!

Our lunch at Polish Kitchen. Sharing bad photos because a friend always asks and I finally remembered – by which I mean I borrowed Tony’s phone and grabbed these shots well after we’d started eating! Pierogi on the left, goulash on the right.

Because the winter’s been dragging, I have been less maniacal about grabbing the camera. I’ve still been outside quite a bit, because cabin fever strikes daily even if the shutterbug doesn’t. But, thanks largely to warmer temperatures, I’ve started picking up the Nikon more again, and it feels good. Also, look at this cuteness. My heart asplode. Aren’t they just the cutest? I have another super-cute one lined up for Facebook later, so keep your eyes peel for that…assuming you like interspecies love ;)

And, last, some color. Because our world is becoming increasingly colorful. The drifts along the road are still a good bit above my waist, but there are clear spots in the yard, and the other day I actually had to take my coat off and walk in a tank top. Spring is on the way my friends. Enjoy it well :)

Between Two Moons

Yesterday was a brilliant, cloudless wonder sandwiched between two full moons. I awoke around 7am (early for me – went to bed at 1am…) to see if I could capture the setting full moon. The temperature had plummeted to -4F overnight, and I was tempted to return to the toasty warmth of my pre-dawn bed, but I dressed and grabbed my gear. The sky was clear – perfect for moon viewing. It hung creamy yellow in the sky, blazing orange as it dipped ever westward. As the sun contemplated rising behind me, the moon sunk below the horizon ahead.

Atmospheric disturbances warble the moon’s edges as it sinks lower

Those blankets still beckoned, so I returned to them for a brief sleep while Tony prepared to fly to Atlanta for a couple of days. After I dropped him off at the airport, Petey and I walked a few laps in the park, shivering in the cold, but luxuriating in the sparkling sun.

Tony’s view from the plane – frozen East Grand Traverse Bay

Since we live and work together, Tony’s absence means the house feels particularly quiet. I’m not great at staying inside under the best of circumstances, but when it’s just me and Petey, there’s little keeping me in the house – not even 12F highs in the middle of March. Thus, as the sun’s light shined down in golden rays in the late afternoon, we suited up for another walk.

A little over a mile in, Petey let me know that he was cold, so we jogged back home. But, sunset approached, and after that the moonrise. For symmetry’s sake, I returned to the same place I watched the morning’s moonset – overlooking the frozen Lake Skegemog.
sunset

Not sure where I wanted to photograph the moonrise, I ended up in a valley, hoping I’d get a decent shot. The sky darkened, stars began to appear, and the temperature tumbled. Eventually, the bright, bright moon rose above the nearly black hills, officially marking the end of a bright, bright day. Here’s hoping yours shone as well :)
moonrise-2

Spring Is on the Way

spring barn

Spring is on the way.

fresh snow-08

We can’t see the grass anywhere, and the snowdrifts are still up to my collar bones, but spring is on the way.

It may still look and feel just like winter, but I can tell. I know all the signs.

These sweet girls visited us on their Spring Break, and we did all kinds of spring things, like sledding, snowy hiking, and ice caving.

Also, we just celebrated the transition to Daylight Saving Time, colloquially called “Spring Forward,” so it must be almost spring.

And it’s the middle of March, which is when spring arrives. So it’s definitely on its way.

The pavement pieces that tile our road were clear for two days, so spring is sure to arrive soon.

Why just today we went skiing and then hiking through snowpack – two quintessential springtime activities.


The lakes are still frozen solid, and the winds bring frostbite in moments.

moonrise

But there’s light in the sky until 9:00pm.

post sunset

And it did rain the other day. So yes, spring really is on its way. It’s just that it could be winter again by time it arrives.

A note about my sanity: I’m not really that upset about this winter. It’s been beautiful, as you can see from this slew of photos, mostly taken during this morning’s sunrise over the fresh snow. It’s surely been a long, cold winter, but it hasn’t been without its rewards. We’ll enjoy whatever weather comes our way, and will savor the springtime even more when it does arrive. In July. ;)

Also, many thanks to my Crazy (formerly) Goan Friend for the nudge to write again :)