Sunday, February 5, 2012

Winter In Absentia...

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown ~ January 5, 2012)
It was sunny and 73 degrees here on the marsh.  Winter threatened to make it's presence known a few times since the Winter Solstice, but for the most part it has made itself scarce.  Punxsutawney Phil saw his furry little shadow in the dawning of February 2nd, 2012.  No early Spring.  Six more weeks of Winter are said to be in our immediate future before the warming days of Spring start to exhibit their trademark colors.  Here on the sunny Georgia coast, what's the difference?  It feels like Spring here anyway.  I have been in Savannah for a few years now, and the past couple of Winters were real bone chillers.  Breath would puff from our mouths in small white clouds, and any exposed skin would get so cold it would sting.  Not this year.

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown ~ January 5, 2012)
Although it has been relatively moderate, there are still many of the visuals of Winter that are present.  A green and brown carpet of dead and dying grass; trees standing tall and twisted, their branches naked except for dry masses of Spanish Moss; the cacophonous chirping of birds as they make a stop here on their migratory journey.

The birds.  During the day, the tree tops by the marsh sound like footage from an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  When I walked over to take a few seconds of footage (posted above), the moment I reached the perimeter of the tall grouping of pines the chatter died off like a switch had been thrown.  I stood there waiting for them to start back up again.  A number of small black,bird-shaped masses flew from branch to branch.  Then everything got still and the bird chatter started up again.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get footage of the birds moving around, but I did capture what I was there for.  The calls of what was certainly hundreds of birds.

(Photos: Lisa Erin Brown ~ January 5, 2012
Bird Bath)
Our rain for this year has been considerably less than usual.  A fact that is illustrated by the bird bath I frequent.  It was due for one of my picture taking jaunts, so I made it the turning point in my short stroll of today.  The few bits of natural flotsam in the baths bowl were dry and dead.  There were a few dark berries that I assume the birds probably munch on.  Unless they are of a poisonous variety.  I am still learning about the local flora, so I don't have a basic knowledge of what's safe and what's poisonous yet.  Not that I have been thinking about sampling anything...

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown ~ January 5, 2012)
For what the limbs of the Sweet Gum standing near the bird bath lack in the way of leaves, it more than makes up for with the massive and numerous clumps of moss that cover it.  The native Americans of this southern region used to call the bushy growth "Tree Beard", which I find to be a more appropriate name.  The trees in this stark state do look like they are covered with fake beards.  The Gothic mood that the moss creates here in mysterious Savannah is wonderful.  This Sweet Gum with its plentiful covering of moss looks really...moody.  The dry brown Sweet Gum balls that also cover the branches give the tall tree a foreboding element.  The balls are far from foreboding though.  They may look like they could prick the skin, but the projectiles give quite easily when pressed.

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown ~ January 5, 2012)
At this point, I hope that Winter keeps itself at bay and we just transition seamlessly into Spring.  There was a point of this weather where I did hope that Winter would take a firm hold, and come into its full chill.  I do like weather that influences us to cuddle up in a fuzzy sweater.  Cold that makes one feel comfy cozy in a thick robe while sipping a cup of hot tea with honey.  This year, that time for me has passed.  If it got cold within this six week period I think it would be too little too late.  Winter has missed its chance, in my book.  

Better luck next year...

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