February 08, 2007

The bleak landscape of February

On days of high wind and swirling snow, the world here is strangely monochrome. White envelopes the yards, the fields, the roadways. Even the sky becomes the lightest grey colour, and whole houses, whole towns, disappear behind the blur of falling snow. It is possible in this weather to feel utterly alone.

Driving home, I figure out where the road is by familiar landmarks – mailboxes, pine trees, big red barns. The ditches are filled with snow, ready to capture the tire of a car that follows the wrong path or slides on a patch of ice. I can see why red is the traditional colour to paint barns in this part of the country: it's the only colour that sounds out in a white and grey world. Everything else, the bare branches of trees, the mailboxes, the telephone poles, becomes a stark silhouette.

The bleak landscape of February

My front yard, this morning.

9 comments:

Linda (FM) said...

The landscape you describe and picture here fits my mood tonight.

bridgett said...

I can't add anything beautiful, but I can tell you a more prosaic reason that barns were red. Most of the barns in your part of NY were painted with something called "milk paint" -- a slurry made from skim milk (the junk left over when one made butter) and hematite iron oxide. That made a cheap coating that was sort of Venetian red and would give the finish a sort of crackly look. Later, they'd throw the iron oxide in varnish to protect the wood and that would last longer.

Not that it didn't gladden the heart on a raw February day anyhow...

kathy a said...

that photo just looks so peaceful, and it is the kind of view we could only see on a trip someplace else.

we had a grey day, too, wet and foggy. i always notice the more colorful houses on those kinds of days. avocado and lime is great together in guacamole; kind of a visual shock side by side in fog.

kabbage said...

You need a gold dog to pose in your front yard. Mine is too old to travel so far, though.

Kyla said...

Oh, the snow angels I could make!

Froggymama said...

Oh, this picture reminds me of the Dar Williams song, "February". It's wonderful. Here's a verse: And February was so long that it lasted into March and found us singing songs alone together.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

My husband sent me an email today informing me of the snowstorm in your part of the country. I must have mentioned you to him once or twice : )

jo(e) said...

Bridgett: Hey, thanks for the interesting tidbit of history. I love finding out about stuff like that.

Jennifer: That's funny. But I do the same thing now when I look at a weather map -- I think of what kind of weather my blog friends are having.

Chip said...

I absolutely love snow-covered landscapes, shades of white and shades of gray.

Don't get me wrong, I also love the spring and summer and fall colors too. But I can't imagine living in a place that doesn't get blanked with snow. And even if we have snow until April 1, this will still be a short winter, given the crazy stuff in Dec and Jan.