California Dreaming

All the leaves are brown
And the skies are gray
I went for a walk
On a winter’s day…
California dreaming

That’s how the song goes and I have to admit to a little California dreaming myself. The landscape has that steely gray feel to it where the dull hue of the trees almost matches the color of the clouds overhead. The passionate flury of fall activity has slipped into a monotonous wait for winter. Ok that is a little grim, but it does seem like a long wait for the white stuff.

I am not alone in my impatient desire for the snow. While trees have marched along to a state of dormancy to avoid this challenging season many birds and mammals are well adapted for cold temperatures and plenty of snow. Snow provides an insulating blanket so birds such as grouse can burrow in for a cozy night, other small mammals can maneuver their way around somewhat protected in the layer above the ground but beneath the snow. Snowshoe Hare use their huge paddle-like feet to float on the surface of the snow enabling them to reach food sources that were previously out of reach. And humans… we have all sorts of ways to get around on the snow; cross country skis, snowshoes, snowboards, downhill skis. Bring on the big flakes! Then maybe I’ll stop dreaming about California.

Photos taken from the Bemis Bridge in Hart's Location and Square Ledge in Pinkham Notch on 10/29/09 by Nancy Ritger