After a frigid week--lows below zero most mornings, and negative sixteen one day--we got a couple of days of reprieve. Both Sunday and Monday temps rose to the mid-forties. Sunday it rained most of the day, making the outdoors not very inviting, but Monday the sun came out, and so did we.
As soon as we got outside, snowballs began to form. Around our house, there is an incontrovertible natural law that boys + wet snow = snowball fight.
I don't get it. I always hated snowball fights. But I don't get a lot of things my kids love (Minecraft, dodgeball, bodily function humor).
The warm weather called us down to the river (and not one single person complained about the trip!). I resisted thinking of it as "springlike" because that would only set me up for false hope. There is a lot of winter ahead of us.
Yet, out in the woods there were a lot of signs of life. Tracks (squirrel, I believe). Pileated woodpecker holes.
The swamp we stomp through was wet again--six inches of melted snow over the ice.
I saw this cocoon dangling from a tree that I'm sure I've walked by two dozen times since something spun it but never noticed it before. I wonder what will come out of it in the spring?
Scat. (Okay, so maybe I don't participate in poop jokes, but I take pictures of poop, which is probably even worse).
And more tracks (another squirrel).
The river was rushing.
A deep layer of meltwater ran over the top of what was left of the ice. I don't think this will be a walk or skate down the river kind of winter, unless we tuck into some seriously cold weather for a good long while (that's not a wish, just an observation).
Back in the field, we were back to the snowballs. It's so strange seeing so much bare ground in mid-January. I haven't skied or snowshoed once this winter--there just hasn't been enough snow for it (well, I could have skied last week, but oh, that bitter cold kept me inside).
The boys trooped up our trail toward home, but I extended my walk around the field and up the driveway, soaking in a little peace and quiet and fresh air.
Already the cold was beginning to seep back across the land. January thaw made its appearance, then handed the reins back over to winter.