Monday, January 17, 2011

Cure for Cabin Fever


A whopper snowstorm was predicted for the southeast, often shrugged off and ignored by southerners who know how that goes.


On the warm and sunny day prior to the anticipated storm, the birds knew something was on the verge of happening. There was a change in their behavior.


Birds flew in that hadn’t been seen in weeks and brought with them a sense of urgency.


Early the next morning, roaming through a dark and chilly house while all others slept, I wrapped my robe tightly around me and saw through the windows a bright, cool blanket covering the landscape.

It was snowing heavily - the fluffy, lightweight kind that’s not good for building snowmen, and was just lovely.


The first day was a fun and frigid one. Chloe returned to the back door quickly, teeth chattering.


Just before dusk the birds scrambled for their last meal of the day while there was



It poured. The gentle sound of it tapping on my hood of my parka brought nostalgia of a cozy, warm home during storms like this and anticipation, mixed with a bit of anxiety…

Will there be school tomorrow?


Far overhead a raptor flapped its wings on a westward flight and without much thought or care, I snapped a quick photo, not knowing who it was but knowing the bird was not ordinary. Later that evening there was a Bald Eagle in a snapshot I almost ignored. A gift!

Overnight, the sleet and freezing rain encased the fluffy snow in ice.

Without a scent to snorgle or eyesight to see a familiar path, what about old Chloe?

Alone with Chloe, Bella and

shards of dangerous ice that are feared and crippling.

Cramping my style.

Wishing to flee

to work

to dance

to anywhere.

By the third day, sometimes on the brink of tears, mad as a hornet, and trapped like a deranged mouse in a maze. That was me.

Those who rearrange closets and deep clean their homes during times like this have good control.

No, not I. Instead, pacing, monitoring, fearing lack of control. Are we creatures of habit? Naturally nomads?

My saving graces were camera, boots, parka, and love of things that sparkle.

The beauty of ice. Its glistening charm seduced and relaxed a worrisome soul.



Metallic under the clouds.



Grin at a sunny reflection of a royal blue coat on the leaf of a butterfly bush.

The birds were slipping and sliding and perhaps were happy that the seed lady shoveled a path to their diner.




The third and last day of the fever was intense. This worrisome soul sought therapy outdoors many times, leaving the cabin fever inside. There were countless pleasant surprises that day.




The ice didn’t matter anymore


because there’s nothing sweeter than to find


an Eastern Bluebird and Carolina Wren meet,

Hello. How do you do? Grand peanuts, ey?”

Nose running, eyes watering, and fingers stinging.

No concern about that.

What a relief.

Nature saved a worrisome soul.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

This New Year


I packed up the memory tree a day earlier than usual. Christmas was merry, yes, but was lacking an ingredient I can’t define.


The silver and gold tree disappeared within a few hours on New Year’s Day – right on target.


Chloe and Bella shared sunny spots on the west side of the house as December was the coldest on record here. Then, I wonder why didn’t it feel like Christmas? This is a question I can’t answer right now or maybe never, but I smile when I remember skipping to the back of the house with my camera on Christmas night after I saw snowflakes falling under the street light on the front side. I called Chloe and Bella to follow me.



A White Christmas and maybe the first one here in 97 years. Sigh…and wow.


The following morning was not quite as beautiful as Ralphie’s crystalized Christmas morning but darn, I loved this.


As I write, the temperature has risen to oh, about 70 outdoors in late afternoon, from 30 in the morning. I want to raise the cold bottle of Deer Park I have here and pour it over my head in the bathroom sink. Or, step outside in my nightgown and watch the steam rise after the temperature drops another 30 degrees again. If it’s winter, let it be winter for God’s sake.

While I desire and need routine and a schedule in my life, I’ll drag myself out of bed at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, moan, probably curse, and head to work in my windowless office.

I recently talked about my sixteen glorious days off and my list of expected accomplishments. That ambitious list proved to be a wish list but I’m satisfied with scoring 70% on completion. My planned visits to the gym were below that, at 30%. What I gained from my time away from the gym was a realization that an hour of sweating in cardio dance or other workout is physically and mentally uplifting while it happens and exhilarating when it ends. Scrubbing and washing around the house is a good workout but how many times have I stopped to prop the mop against the door jam to rest, watch a TV segment, or check my e-mail?

2011 will be a good year for me, concentrating on good health. I quit smoking two years ago. If I can do that, I can do anything. And, I will strive to reserve more time to write and share here.

I recently saw a simple quote on a friend's blog.

"Never give up on something you can't go a day without thinking about." Anon

Against the snow, there isn’t a more stunning backyard bird than a Male Northern Cardinal. Due to hawk interference, no Cardinal!


The birds were in a constant frenzy and kept me busy. Rock Pigeons and squirrels were also fed well, along with others I usually shoo away.


On my neighbor’s roof, a few pictured of the eighteen. The cooing, slapping, funny birds can clear a feeder full of black oil sunflower seeds in ten minutes.


Carolina Chickadees make me smile on my worst days. That's why I want a pet Chickadee.

I regret overlooking ones who helped the Goldfinches clear the finch feeder.





A small flock of Pine Siskins had been working the feeders very well!

The sun broke through during a mostly cloudy vacation.


Wishing for sunny days in 2011, physically and emotionally. Oh, and I want to photograph an owl. Any owl in the wild. Sometime this year, more likely in the summertime, I'll tiptoe across the street in my nightie at 5:30 a.m. to get that Great Horned Owl on my neighbor's rooftop and use flash if I need it. If I don't get that shot, I'll need to get out of my backyard, somehow, because I know there are owls in North Carolina.

All over the place, this post is. Borderline jibber jabber from Christmas trees and spirit, to snow, to windowless offices, to accomplishments and wishes, to workouts, to Bostons in the sun, to birds, to owls, to nighties, and to


Bean Soup and Ham today. Yum.

2011 begins with a bang!