This is my least favorite time of year, with frozen ground but yet no snow cover. Signs of the growing season abound, with green plants such as dandelions and evening primrose visible. Some new shoots of peppermint have sprouted in a bed along the sunny south side of my house.
And yet, we can’t forage for plants because those we do find are only vestigial remnants of summer’s glory. Besides that, even though they look fresh and green, they are frozen stiff. A good snowstorm would end this “not summer, but not winter” season once and for all. But every time it looks like snow, we get rain instead.
This indecisive nature to our weather extends to ponds and lakes, too. It’s time for small ponds to get locked in with ice. That has happened, too, several times. And each time a good, solid inch of clear, black ice forms, a warm spell comes and melts it.
Gravel roads don’t escape, either. We have already endured one genuine mud season. The worst of it is, the grader did a fairly good job this fall. Then we had a cold spell, which froze the road and prevented it from deteriorating. But off-and-on warm spells and accompanying rains, heavy at times, have turned roads to mire and also, allowed speeding cars and truck to create new potholes and re-open old ones.
It’s maddening. We wear sweaters one day, parka and gloves the next. “It ain’t right,” as my grandpa would have said. Blame what you want, but my money goes on the crazy jet stream. The jet stream brings us our weather, good and bad, warm and cold. And when it’s time for cold, the jet stream takes a dip south, bringing us balmy weather. And when we yearn for warmth, the jet stream loops north, bringing us arctic and sometimes even polar air.
Besides all this unsettled weather, the lack of light due to short days and days on end without a trace of sun, makes us all a little lethargic. In my case, it’s hard to concentrate on writing. What would take me two hours now takes a whole day. Someone mentioned buying a special light bulb that duplicates sunlight. Perhaps that’s the answer. But a few sunny days would be even better.
Top it all off with a string of cloudy nights, precluding any astronomical observations, and we have a recipe for the blues.
It’ll end soon, no doubt. This happens every year and it’s to be expected. But while this drab and colorless dark time persists, it’s hard to deal with.