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Friday, February 20, 2015

Footprints

"How cold is it there?" a faraway friend asked after seeing news reports of the frigid temperatures hitting the eastern part of the U.S. "Is it as bad as last year?"


Hmmm. Now that's a good question. For  us, the winter of 2014 began two days before Christmas 2013, when our city lost power -- in Rick's case, for 10 days. I was one of the few who didn't lose it (dilemma: Is turning on your Christmas lights like rubbing peoples' faces in it, or does it provide a little light of hope and cheer at a dark holiday time?)


Our wind chills had been in the -30s (F) and the daytimes barely above zero -- if it made it that high. Even after the power returned, the temps stayed cold and the snow kept piling up, creating records throughout our state and in much of the country.


So, I guess I shouldn't complain about -15 or -20 wind chill and official temps above zero. Like seven. Or four. Or maybe that warm day when it got to 14 degrees. This winter of 2015 is not cozy, to be sure.


When I see the news about what is going on in the East, I should be ashamed of being a wimpy winter girl. We do not have more than two feet of snow. We probably have about 18 inches. Maybe more, maybe less, depending on the drifts. My very nice neighbor is happy to earn a few bucks snowblowing my driveway and after our last foot-high snowstorm, they even plowed my street -- a rarity in my neighborhood. There have been no runs on water or food at the grocery store, I don't need to put a bookcase or chair to reserve a parking spot on the street and I can afford to heat my house. Some people can't. So, suck it up, Buttercup!


But it is cold, no getting around that one. Lizzie has taken over the house radiators. When I can't find her, I simply look for the heat sources and she's generally there. The birds are scrambling for seed. They don't seem to be eating the suet I put out though -- I have a bad feeling it is frozen and they can't get it to break apart. The snow crunches when you step on it -- not a bad sound, really. It would be rather nice if it wasn't so darned cold!


No one I know has touched tongue to flagpole this year but I suspect any moisture would freeze close to contact. You've seen the odd footprint photos in this post. (Yes, footprints, not abstract art). A recent visit to Detroit for the symphony found us parked a (very cold) block away -- really, a wonderful parking spot, free (can you believe it?) and on the street. As we walked toward Symphony Hall I couldn't help but notice these footprints (because I was looking down so I didn't step on the ice patches and go down myself!).


Footprints. Frozen on cement. I'm trying to figure out how this happened. Wet shoes touching on contact? The indentations of feet on ice -- then shallower parts of ice melted leaving the print? It is a mystery.


Yet they were magical in their own odd way. To me it said "Someone has been here before you, recently, on this side street in downtown Detroit where the media would tell you no one ever goes. They walked this street between Cass (where the 1967 riots broke out) and Woodward (once the gleaming main drag of a vibrant city that is trying desperately to come back. Maybe it was a symphony musician en route to rehearsal or someone who found the free parking and was headed to work. Yes, there are places in Detroit where people work.


It was a sign of cold, to be sure. But in its own small way, also a sign of hope. And when it's hard to get the temps above zero, hope is what we all need.

29 comments:

Mae Travels said...

You are so creative to look at the weather and the city through the lens of footprints!

I'm in Fairfax, VA where it's abnormally cold but still 20 degrees or so warmer than Michigan -- maybe 8º here maybe minus 20º at home. The kids' school was cancelled for no good reason.

Joanne Huffman said...

Great photos. I think one of the reasons this winter seems so bleak and cold (well, it was -8F here this morning) is that it reminds us of last winter. Your photos make my feet cold (again, this may be temperature related).

I need orange said...

Love the footprints! I don't remember ever seeing something quite like that! Isn't it interesting how, when you pay attention, there is new stuff to see (and puzzle over) in a familiar landscape?

As for winter -- I, too, keep telling myself "It's not as bad as last year!" and "At least I don't live in Boston."

One of my class assignments was to propose a site for a new Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Whoa. Boston looks like paradise, in comparison to Monrovia, Liberia, taking everything into consideration!

I think reminding ourselves that we are living in clover, comparatively, is salubrious. Everything is, of course, relative....

It's easy to spot the things in our lives that could use improvement. I would be perfectly happy if our daily high temp were never lower than 20(F), for example. On the other hand, the sun is out, the power is on, and we are able to pay the gas&electric bill.

All is well at our house.

:-)

psychelyn said...

I would be happy to see someone's Christmas lights on when I've got no lights.

It's cold but not terribly cold in your place which is good to know. I've read from other bloggers in the US that they're experiencing snowstorm, one after another. They've got heaps of snow to plow everyday.

"Someone's been there before you" right. :)

It's been very cold in my part of the world but is thawing now (somehow). We've got crazy temperatures lately. It jumps from 0 to -19 and again and again.

Glad you enjoyed my blog about Russia. I guess not too many are blogging from here. Most Russians use LiveJournal. Some foreigners do probably but I haven't met anyone yet so far.

psychelyn said...

I would be happy to see someone's Christmas lights on when I've got no lights.

It's cold but not terribly cold in your place which is good to know. I've read from other bloggers in the US that they're experiencing snowstorm, one after another. They've got heaps of snow to plow everyday.

"Someone's been there before you" right. :)

It's been very cold in my part of the world but is thawing now (somehow). We've got crazy temperatures lately. It jumps from 0 to -19 and again and again.

Glad you enjoyed my blog about Russia. I guess not too many are blogging from here. Most Russians use LiveJournal. Some foreigners do probably but I haven't met anyone yet so far.

Karen S. said...

great pictures of just how our world is too. truthfully, I think last year was a far worse winter, (I can't believe I really admitted that) but it's true. Thankfully we will be seeing spring very soon!

Arti said...

You know we're enjoying unusually long spell of warm weather. And I'm not complaining. 40F and above is what we're getting during daytime. Your photos here are intriguing. They look like oyster shells on the pavement. Remember my snow koala? ;)

Jenny Woolf said...

I've often wanted to visit Detroit which seems so extraordinary to me. I can't imagine a whole city turning into a ghost place. I think I might find it very scary, though.

I don't think you should beat yourself up about being more wimpy about cold than people in the East. They don't have the choice. And to me, cold is cold is cold and where you are looks plenty cold!! So I hope you get some warmer weather soon!

Beate said...

Oh boy, that really is cold there! Stay safe and warm. Love the idea of taking pictures of those foot prints! They truly are fascinating. :)

Mary said...

These are wonderful, (and very telling) photos! It's just plain cold no matter how you look at it. I hope it warms up at least some very soon!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

GOod morning fellow citizen of Antartic! Yep, it's pretty bad here too. Not a lot of snow this year, but this infernal cold. I am sitting here typing with my parka on, and the heater is on!

Stay safe; we are almost out of the woods...

littleRamstudio said...

Think you should just follow your cat around finding the warm spots until Spring arrives!
Heather :)

The French Hutch said...

Footprints leave behind a bit of poetry, who, why, when and the imagination does its thing. Love the photos. I would have felt a wee bit guilty turning on my Christmas lights but I would have. I think it would give everyone a bit of hope that everything will be better soon.
Have a great Saturday and stay warm, it is terrible cold here too.

The Artful Diva said...

We just has a 1 night cold snap and I'm already tired of winter!

gigihawaii said...

I can just imagine how cold it is up there. Awful. I hate shivering.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Like you said, this winter is so much better than last year but it's still cold. The frustrating thing here is that it's so cold but we have very little snow and I just feel like we might as well have snow if it's going to be this cold! But I have given up on wishing for a significant snow fall and am praying that spring arrives in March! This week has just been awful as our weather has been so bitterly cold. I'd still rather be here than Charlotte, of course, but it's just not a fun time of year to live in the Midwest. I am lucky that we were able to get away for 5 days of sunshine, though!!

Those footprint photos are really cool!

Esme said...

And that is why I moved to California. I had enough of the cold Canadian winters. I hope spring comes soon.

Keicha Christiansen said...

It's been such a strange weather year. So much cold and snow in the East and here in Utah we've been having record warm temperatures. Things are not looking good for the water situation here come spring and summer.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Oh Jeanie,
Now this is something to see.
It is actually quite beautiful to look at... But oh my, sooooo cold.
blessings,
Penny

Shelia said...

Now I like these footprint snaps! You're the most creative one to think of this! Just don't go slipping on the ice! We're still snowed in.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Tante Mali said...

Oh, this looks very cold! Hope you'll stay warm and spring will come as soon as possible!
All my best from Austria where we have a rainy day today
Elisabeth

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Hi Jeannie,
Wishing you a joyful Sunday..
Thank you so much for coming over to say hello to Peanut... I am so happy you enjoyed.
blessings,
Penny

Retired English Teacher said...

Hmmmm. Not sure about the way your neighbors may think about the Christmas lights, but if it were me without power, I would enjoy the twinkling beauty from my cold, dark house while I secretly coveted your electricity.

I think of those in the Boston and wonder how I would survive it. We have snow today, but I know it won't last long. That helps me survive winter.

Bella Rum said...

It's been very cold here. Today is the first warm day we've had for awhile. I'm glad you have someone to clean your driveway. Spring is out there somewhere. Hang in there.

Jennifer Richardson said...

I'm oh so very ready for
some balmy weather; my toes
are somewhat sad much of the day.
But, like you say, I will not
complain as I am well cared for
and blessed.
Prayers for those without heat
and food, for sure.
I ache for the animals and others suffering in this cold.
love you Jeanie,
Jennifer

Tamara said...

I guess I shouldn't mention the tempartures we've had the past few weeks... needless to say I am on the other side of the globe, and there are none of these footprints on our paths! Looking through your post though gave me chills. I do remember living in Canada as a kid, and the number of times Dad had to rescue little eskimo and white kids from the tongue on the ice thing... I agree with some of the other comments - you are so clever turning icy footprints into some sort of Art! Maybe one day I should post snake tracks in the sand - see what you could make of those.

Tracy said...

bbbrrr... so COLD! It's hard to believe it's even colder there than here... LOL! So many folks been struggling with big winter this year... Wonderful pics, Jeanie! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Marilyn said...

Stay inside and be warm. I am not sure I have seen frozen footprints.

Victoria Zigler said...

I love this post, and the way you find beauty in such simple things!

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