February 03, 2014

Rethinking February

Is it possible February in Wisconsin isn't as bad as I've thought all these years?

fence

Perhaps it isn't the "longest month" with the fewest number of days, afterall.

stream

Following a brutal January that was too cold for winter sports (or even walking outside much), maybe February will be better.

robins

On these days when the sun warms the earth and robins gather by spring-fed streams, isn't this a little better than it was in January?

skiers

Trails through powdery snow mark where humans have been ... with their snowshoes, skis, and winter hiking gear.

tree line

The scenery is lovely ... if I don't pause too long with my gloves off to snap the photos.

sun

The days are (ever so slowly) getting a little longer, and the sun (even through hazy sky) is shining a little warmer.

robin

Isn't that enough to make February a little better than January ...

a little more pleasant than I remember it ...

and a little easier to take on the path to spring?!

(All photos in this post were taken at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.)

48 comments:

  1. Such an inspiring post. Thanks for the encouraging and positive words. I can see the light through the trees!

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    1. I need the inspiration, too. Our hike through the arboretum on the weekend was good theraphy. ;-) Tough winter!

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  2. How cold there... But look so beautiful.

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    1. Yes, it has been cold. I didn't even appreciate it or get out in it much until recently. -18C/0F just isn't enjoyable to me. But now that we're regularly above -9C/15F during the daytime, it's a little more comfortable to get out and explore a little bit.

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  3. Hi Beth, beautiful atmospheric winter photos! Your winter looks nice on photos, but living through it must be truly hard. Hope February will be better than January was for you. No matter what, spring will come that is for sure :-)!
    Christina

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    1. We spend a lot of time inside, like people in warmer climates stay inside during the summer. Still comfortable, but cabin fever is awful--especially this year. I'm making a point to break out of it with the milder weather now, though. 20s with sun and no wind isn't too difficult. ;-)

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  4. Glad you ventured out, Beth. You got some very pretty images in the snow. The robins are cute...

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    1. Finally, it's getting warm enough (10s and 20s) to enjoy being outside. I was getting a serious case of cabin fever, but now it's gone. The photos were point-and-shoot shots, because my fingers were cold. ;-)

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  5. Gorgeous photos. I am surprised to see the Robins . . . several,others have mentioned seeing them too. January has passed and already I am feeling the lightness of the days. More sun and longer days are really a treat!

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    1. Thanks--I used my point-and-shoot, because my fingers were cold. ;-) I don't see many robins around our house this time of year, but apparently they hang out near warm springs like this--very cute! Supposedly, they overwinter here, but they make themselves scarce until the weather warms. Yes, the sun and longer days are great!

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  6. Życzę Ci, żeby luty nie był taki mroźny jak styczeń. Piękny spacer i są nawet rudziki, które uwielbiam. Pozdrawiam.
    I wish you that February was not so frosty as January. Lovely walk and are even robins, which I love. Yours.

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    1. Thanks, Giga. It was great to get out, and since we are used to being cold, now, we actually felt warm that day! The robins were cute. Someone we saw along the way said it's common to see them at this spot throughout the winter. Some of them looked like youngsters.

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  7. Beautiful! It is good to get out and find some renewed inspiration and energy to get one through the last push of winter. That being said, I am ready for Spring. The daffodils are starting to poke their heads out in my garden. Hang in there!

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    1. Yes, very true, Karin. Lucky you to have Daffodils already! I'm sure they're starting to get ideas under the snow here, but we have so much snow that it will take a long time for it to melt. I'll stop by your blog to get an early peak at spring. :)

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  8. Robins in Wisconsin in February? No way! They are year-rounders here, but I figured they'd have the sense not to hang out so far up north. Could be a good sign for an early spring, though. Your February sure looks like winter to me, though.

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    1. Actually, they apparently overwinter here in Southern Wisconsin. But we don't see them much until March. Someone we met at the Arboretum said they commonly hang out through the winter near the warm springs. Smart birds! Yep, our winter here stretches into March, and sometimes into the first of April. ;-)

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  9. I love your attitude, Beth, and your photos certainly make winter look beautiful! I'm going to try to stay positive as another winter storm heads our way, but mostly I am thankful that February is the shortest month:) So nice to see the robins!

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    1. It's a coping mechanism, Rose. I'm suddenly very busy--much busier than in January--so I'm hoping February will be not only warmer, but also speedy. ;-) Yes, it was fun to see the robins!

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  10. Lovely winter photos in the Arboretum and so many robins together, we here have robins all year round, but they are always on their own. When I see some robins together in the garden they are always quarreling.

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    1. Thank you. They were point-and-shoot photos because I'm a winter wuss. ;-) I've never seen that many robins in one place before either, but maybe they tolerate each other when the warm pickings are slim.

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  11. We thought we were on that path to spring (little things poking through the ground) but now we're getting slammed with another polar blast. A few flakes are falling, so I'm hoping for some lovely photos like yours.

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    1. Sorry, Ricki. We've had constant winter since December, but I guess we were lucky to have a mild autumn. The really cold arctic days are hard to take, though, aren't they? I hope it won't be too awfully cold for you, and that you'll get some great shots in the snow!

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  12. Wow it has been quite a winter just about everywhere. Pretty photos from the arboretum. At least there is a bit more light and spring is not too far away. I used to travel to Wisconsin on business and mostly I remember the cold!

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    1. Yes, seems we've all had a taste of harsher winter than we usually have. The Arboretum is a wonderful resource for us here in the middle of the city. It's pretty cold here except for May through September. And comfortably mild in April and October. The rest of the year, you definitely need a jacket ... or a big parka in winter!

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  13. February is much closer to spring than January, so not too long to wait now :(. Your scenery is very lovely, thank you for a glimpse.

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    1. Good point! Thanks for the encouragement, Masha. It was a very pretty day. I sort of wish I'd had my good camera with me, but it was too cold for enjoyable photography (for me, anyway). Warm enough if we kept moving, though! ;-)

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  14. Hi Beth,
    It was fun to see the Robins. We don't see them until April. They cause a little excitement to stir in my soul. Spring is near! It sounds like your winter has been as brutal as ours. It was cold for so long that it felt like it got down into my bones! Ordinarily, I'm a furnace but got to the point that I was wearing my bathrobe over my clothes and using a heating pad and blanket.....the temps the same as always in the house......it's a mystery to me!

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    1. I don't see them until March much here in my garden, either. But apparently many of them winter here--they just find warm places like the spring-fed stream in the arboretum. I know what you mean about the really cold weather and how the house just never seems warm. Generally, I try to keep the house at about 68, but with this deep cold, I'm only comfortable with it set at 71--and that's with long underwear, two pairs of socks, blankets, and cats on my lap. I think we have some insulation and/or draft issues, though. :(

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  15. Excellent attitude! I've discovered things are rarely as bad as we think they are. Plus, March is much closer now than it was in January. :o)

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! March is just around the corner. I can see spring off in the distance now. ;-)

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  16. I agree, spring is so close. Yeah. I like your new header b y the way.

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    1. Thanks! Spring is close, and yet it's not. Tough time of year for many of us. It has become crystal clear to me that I will never choose to live north of where I live now. And, God willing, I will probably be a snowbird for at least part of the winter when I retire.

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  17. As seen through your evocative images and words, February is indeed lovely and inviting.

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    1. Thank you, Lee. You are kind. The point-and-shoot camera worked OK. I'd like to be a great winter photographer, but it's just not fun at all. Too many bouts of frostbite and near frostbite over the years. So, I prefer to wear warm gloves and mittens when I venture out. ;-)

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  18. Robins at the spring - how glorious is that!

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    1. Yeah, that was fun to see. Apparently, it's a common hangout for them. They seemed pretty happy and chirpy. :)

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  19. Such gorgeous scenery, and robins that promise you spring is on the way! Your photos could be postcards. February is just on the threshold of spring for us, and that is definitely better than January!

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    1. Oh thanks, Deb. The point-and-shoot camera worked OK. Things are looking a little better for us next week, with forecasted highs in the 20s!

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  20. I've always contended that February is longest month. Even though January is longer, it still has some flash and color leftover from the holidays, and Valentine's Day is not enough to overcome the month.

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    1. I know, that's usually how I feel, too. Except this year it was too cold to even go outside much in January. We're warming up now, so I'm liking February more than I usually do. One exception: Groundhog Day. It's like rubbing salt in a wound.

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  21. Lovely walk through the Arboretum, I've never been there in the wintertime. I've been spending around an hour a day skiing since the first snowfall and you're right, the days are definitely getting longer. I was amazed it was still light out at 5:30 PM. With the temps near 20 today, it felt like a mini-heatwave.

    Loved your photos, just gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you, Karen. Perspective matters, doesn't it? February is not bad this year, and it's going very fast already. If I can get out, and the days are sunny and dry, with no wind, and in the 10s and 20s, I have no complaints.

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  22. Your images tell the tale of a beautiful season. I've come to learn that there is always beauty out there that brings us joy. We just have to be willing to look for it. But when the temps are so low it's not so easy to take the plunge into the frigid air.
    Thank you for sharing the beauty you found!

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    1. Definitely always beauty. Being stuck inside and unable to breathe when going outside takes its toll, but that simply makes the other times more precious! Thanks, Carolyn.

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  23. Those are gorgeous photos...we seemed to have switched up our months. Feb is a real bitter time here this month.

    Jen

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    1. Thanks, Jen. I think the jet stream is moderating, which is giving you a taste of winter and making our winter a little more "normal" and bearable. I hope it's not too cold for too long for you! Take care!

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  24. February is usually the coldest month of the year here in London, but we are still waiting for winter, not sure if we are going to get any this year – still no frost here, I wish we could even out the weather a bit between us!
    Thanks for the stroll, your winter photos are beautiful, I hope the teeny bit longer days and warmer sunshine will help a bit, and the thought of only 20 days till spring might help too? At least here in London we start spring on 1st March, do you too? Take care and stay warm :-)

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    1. Weather is fickle, isn't it? ;-) We never know exactly what we're going to get from season to season. Yes, 20 days until spring is a nice thought. We consider March 1 the meteorological start to spring, but closer to the spring equinox seems to be when things really start to change around here. We sometimes still get snow in April, but it melts very fast. Lucky you, to avoid even frost this year! Thanks for the encouragement, Helene!

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