Still. Quiet. COLD.

I see no signs of life. Dead leaves shudder in the breeze that last night was a chilly blast bearing down from the west. Little snow remains after two days of 40 degree weather, dripping icicles and brilliant blue sky.

DSC_7863Two days ago, out walking in the woods and fields, picking my way around puddles and melting mud, I searched for and found tracks made by deer, squirrels, raccoons, maybe, or opossums. Yesterday, birds flocked to my feeders, their bright colors so cheerful against the monochrome brown of the woods without snow cover.
Today, there are no drops falling from a roof warmed in the sun. The world appears to have frozen solid. There is no movement outside. There is no sound. Still, quiet, cold: This is winter in Wisconsin.

Deer tracks

Deer tracks

These little hands - are they squirrel tracks?

These little hands – are they squirrel tracks?

Wisconsin is not for the faint-hearted. It is not for “ weather wimps”, as I like to call them. Wisconsin, home of the famous “Frozen Tundra”, also known as Lambeau Field, is a home to people, animals and plants who have adapted to the harsh winter. More than adapted. They embrace the winter – just like they embrace the spring and the fall and the summer, for here we have the stereotypical four seasons of greeting cards and children’s school books.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

As I write, a woodpecker appears at the suet feeder outside the kitchen window. Black and white feathers, crowned with a red spot on the head, a sign that life goes on out there in the 7 degree day. We may have feeble sunshine and anemic skies today, but the birds will go about their daily hunt for food (my feeder of course is like dessert!) and the deer will forage through the frozen grasses near the pond. The osprey will check out the open water looking for a hapless fish swimming too near the surface. I will enjoy it all from my snug little house, the windows of my studio looking out at the frigid world beyond.

An osprey soared high above me, its mate nearby.

An osprey soared high above me, its mate nearby.

Winter has its own peculiar beauty and rhythm, complete with the stillness required to enjoy it.

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