Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Forecast: Snow

Does in snow near Carter Lake, Berthoud, CO. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I'm certain we reached temperatures below zero last night up here by the lake. I was up off and on throughout the night adding firewood to the wood burning stove--it was just so cold! I lived in Colorado 43 years before moving to Texas then New Mexico. I remember, as a child, wondering what the birds and animals do when it's cold outside. Apparently, they do just fine. This handsome buck was lying in a snow bank covered in snow when I drove back up the mountain this afternoon and he seemed perfectly comfortable. 

Doe in the snow. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

This is unusually cold weather for this time of year in Colorado, but my neighbors warned me it was coming a few months ago. They said they could tell by the behavior of the wildlife that it would be a cold, early winter. Apparently, they were right! 

Does in snow. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I think it would be a bit stressful being a deer or elk because they are prey animals--they are vegetarians and do not prey on other animals, but spend their lives looking over their shoulder, trying to keep themselves and their families safe. Humans can be prey animals, too. This can be a dangerous world and I know I've spent far too many years as a prey animal, allowing others to take advantage of me, depending on people to protect me when I know I cannot trust them. When I saw that buck lying in the snow I slowly held my camera to my eye and took his photograph, but when I took the shot I remember thinking--wishing, really--that he should stand up and run because that camera could just as easily have been a gun. He was too trusting. 

Buck and Doe in the snow. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I can't really explain why this bothered me, but it did. I sensed that I could have taken a few steps closer to get even better photos, but I didn't want these lovely creatures to feel comfortable around me because humans prey on others and I wanted these animals to fear me. 

Carter Lake in Berthoud, CO. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

This isn't really a hunting area. Not many people live in the valley and it's empty during the off-season when the lake freezes and the snow falls, but I hear gun shots all the time when my neighbors stand outside their homes and practice. I don't know why the deer and elk come to this valley seeking shelter and safety, but I pray they find it. 

Carter Lake in Berthoud, CO. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

It was cold and windy this afternoon and I almost skipped the firewood run, concerned for my safety on the icy roads. The water moved in strong waves across the lake, but I was fascinated by what looked like clouds coming up from the water, straight up into the air then moving sideways across the road and into the surrounding fields. 

Carter Lake in Berthoud, CO. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I've always found it interesting how a change in season can create a change in mood in a place such as a field or a lake. A few months earlier I photographed this same piece of land and it looked peaceful, warm, full of life. Now it looks dangerous and foreboding, and considering the forecast of below zero nighttime temperatures and snow that will continue throughout the week I suppose the lake is dangerous right now. 

Carter Lake in Berthoud, CO. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

And yet, there are also times when the darkness and the cold create scenes of great beauty. Colors do not clash in nature, they compliment each other. Humans and animals do both--clash and compliment, especially in relationships. Scenery such as this can be a great metaphor for life.

Dark-Eyed Junco. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

By the time I arrived at my little dome-shaped house it was even darker and colder, but the tiny flock of birds outside my house was still busy searching for the seeds I left out earlier. 

Chubby Junco. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman. 

As I watched the tiny birds flying back and forth from beneath my porch it occurred to me that every house I've lived in has had a flock of birds. In Texas it was a mixed flock, but mostly Cardinals and White-Winged Doves. In New Mexico the shrub beside my house was filled with House Sparrows and a variety of Finches. This summer we had Magpies and White-Winged Doves, House Sparrows and Finches.

Dark-Eyed Junco. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

but the Dark-Eyed Juncos arrived late in the fall and they seem to have settled in, living beneath my porch at night where it is warm and safe and sitting in the trees in the daytime, often fluffing up their feathers to keep warm like the one in the photo above. 

Dark-Eyed Junco. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I'm enjoying these little creatures. They are not particularly noisy like House Sparrows, but they are playful, chasing each other around the porch and trees. They seem a bit friendlier, too. I walk past them often on my way to the barn or my truck and they will sit on the fence and stare at me. 

Dark-Eyed Junco. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I am not a snow-sports person, but I do love the snow. I love how it looks when it is fresh, untouched, and when it is still falling. I love the quiet, the peaceful feeling that comes over me when I gaze out my window at a flock of birds sitting very still on tree branches as the snow falls around them. 

Dark-Eyed Juncos. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I live alone now, but I am not lonely. I feel blessed by the peace and magnificent beauty of this place and I know I will be happy here. 

Sagebrush in the snow. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

No comments: