Winter in Minnesota might seem never ending to some. Its power and might flares up from time to time to remind us that we are not in control. On this, the fifth snow day of my 17th year of teaching, I am, again reminded that it is possible to stop the self-imposed business and craziness of life. This is no small accomplishment in a place like Minnesota. If this were Atlanta, then yes, it would be conceivable that we would come to a standstill this many times in a winter because of ice and snow. However, Minnesotans are used to this. We have the capability of clearing the roads, melting the ice and getting ourselves out of the ditch (and most of us know how to stay out of the ditch in this weather in the first place). For a storm to cause an entire state that is accustomed to winter to stop and respect her, it must be a mighty storm indeed. Winter storm Seneca came quietly with picturesque fluffy, sticky snow that clung to everything it touched. The entire landscape was left in a mantle of white that not even the 25 mph winds could knock down. She warmed us up before plunging us back into the deep freeze...somehow getting our hopes up about spring being on the way. But we know that spring is a long way off here. February has always been winter.
I went out with my camera without much hope of conquering the landscape today. I wondered to myself "how many pictures of a snowy landscape can you take in this yard?" I know I could probably take thousands, but today I didn't feel like slogging through two feet of snow in the yard to get to things off the beaten path. It was cold enough to take my breath away; the wind chill below zero. The lake was a beautiful mass of untouched white; the wind dancing with the snow, lifting it and swirling it around. It would have made some wonderful extended shutter photos. But today, I walked down the driveway because it was plowed. As I went, I noticed that the subjects of my first Winter Garden installment were completely buried. The little Brussels sprouts sentinels and dill plants were nowhere to be seen, deep under the blanket of snow. But as I walked, I noticed that Seneca had left a gift. She froze that first snow right to the branches of our honeysuckle fence and as the sun sank lower in the sky, they lit up like dazzling crystals. This was my subject for the day. Even as I thought there was nothing left for me to photograph but hundreds of snow covered trees and bushes sagging under the weight of the snow, nature had left some jewels for me today.