Now that we've pretty much finished unpacking and are settled into our new surroundings, I've taken the time and had a good look around. We've moved to this new home in the middle of what is passing for winter this year: I think the average temperature has only been in the 50's and there's been no snow. The trees are mostly bare except for the evergreens and some of the oaks which hold their leathery leaves until the first buds of spring push them off. The grass of the lawn is brown, azaleas with their deep purple leaves look chilled and the underbrush on the back hillside where lumber was harvested a couple years ago is grey-brown and dusky-looking.
Whenever we've gone to the Maple Festival up in Highland County its been overcast, wet, slushy and cold. So I always associate that type of weather with the area, although I know that in summer it is hot, green and lush. It was like that too, in Oklahoma: for me, it is always cold, damp and snowy.
Here in Hardy the great outdoors is cold, washed-out, brown and damp. Inside, the walls are painted with strong, earthy colors - too bold for my liking. They serve to emphasize the heaviness that hangs on like a leaden blanket.
Somehow I am hopeful as the calendar promises to turn in the next couple days to February, a month closer to Spring. Yesterday morning I walked in the back yard and flushed out five or six white-tail deer from down near the creek. They ran, snorting, up the back hill and up to and across the ridge. They must be the same group that mingles in front of the game camera set up by our neighbor on the back corner of the property. I wonder if they, too, are waiting for spring, or if they realize its been over a year since they last walked through snow. Of course I still hope that the Farmer's Almanac is correct in its prediction of a Valentine's Day storm; the girls and I want to put the hills to good use.
I can't imagine what the yard will look like in its Spring greenery, or how the sunlight will fall against newly-painted walls at a different angle than in the winter months. I look forward to what berries might be growing after a long winter of dormancy in the underbrush. I'm eager to enjoy the sound of the creek after clearing out an area to sit in the warm sunshine.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to join this property in a slow cycle. We can afford a leisurely pace while the weather keeps us inside. I have feeling that the spring and summertime will bring busy outdoor adventures in gardening, land clearing, animals and learning. I think we're all looking forward to the changes.