I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cold and snow

The cold and snow moved in overnight on Friday, canceling my usual Saturday morning walk and making it necessary for me to use my broom like a snow shovel. I broke up the ice in the birdbath and cleared enough of the porch to put some bird seed out for my birdies. Yes, I worried about them all night, thinking of them huddled in some branches trying to keep from being blown away by 45-mph winds and staying warm in below-freezing temperatures.

Sometimes I wonder about the propensity I have to worry about things I can't do anything about. It was a problem last year when I closely followed the web cam of the hatching of an eaglet and watching his parents care for him. I worried when they were gone for too long, hoping nothing had happened to them, and then I was heartbroken when the little eaglet (who was no so little by then) died of pneumonia just before he was ready to fledge the nest. I have been unable to appreciate web cams looking into wild nests since then.

My grandmother was a worrier, and my sister gave me a quote that has served me well: "Worry is a misuse of the imagination." I think of that and then come up with other imaginative ways to worry anyway. The abrupt change in the weather makes me fearful for all the wild creatures in our local woods, but they have been managing quite well without me or my worry since long before humans were even around.

Yesterday, Saturday, I took the bus to town because the roads were frozen and slippery. Since there is no bus service on Sundays any more, I will only venture out on my own two feet today. Our temperatures are not projected to get above freezing, even in the daytime, for the next three days, so the streets and sidewalks will remain treacherous. This part of the country doesn't seem to put much sand on the streets, and walking around town on sidewalks covered with several inches of ice wasn't much fun yesterday.

I remember so well being amused by my grandmother whenever she would come up with things in my life for her to worry about. I remember telling her not to worry, and she would respond, "Well, somebody has to; you don't!" As if there was a need to manufacture scenarios of possible calamity or something dire would occur. And now I have become just like her!

Last night, however, I went to bed feeling satisfied that I had done my part in keeping my birdies safe: they ate more birdseed than ever before in one day; they drank water from the birdbath since all the other water around was frozen solid, and I pictured them in roosting in the trees last night with full bellies, which allowed me to snuggle into my down comforter and sleep quite well, in spite of all the cold and snow.

18 comments:

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Washington has snow already? Brr! It is at this time of year that I am happy to be in California and enjoy the snow through pictures. (I can remember my days in Maine as a child and Siberia as an adult -- the memories are good enough.) Thanks for posting a memory.

Grandmother said...

Those little capable critters have been surviving well for eons! Peace to you.

Star said...

Ooh that's a lot of snow D-Jan. Poor little birds. They don't look big enough to take care of themselves, do they. I think you do a great job. This morning I saw our robin. We see more of him in the winter than in the summer. Both the male and the female have a red breast. I used to think it was just the male. We also had a big pigeon, we get a lot of those, and a blackbird. There are lots of berries about still but soon they will need some help because the berries will be all gone.
I hope they leave me some berries on the holly.
Blessings, Star

gigi-hawaii said...

Here in Hawaii, none of the homes has indoor heating. So, of course, when it sinks to the 60s at night and early morning, I shiver and wear a lined windbreaker jacket. Your down comforter sounds ideal.

I never worry about the animals. But I do worry about my future a lot. Will I be able to afford a nursing home if I become senile or crippled? And so forth...

Red said...

I'm sorry to tell you that I am not a worrier. I care and I take responsibility, but I don't worry. Now I know this doesn't make sense to a worrier and is no comfort.
I do have concern for the birds. I notice that they really pig out before rotten weather comes. They have then the energy to withstand inclement weather for a while.
I've also slept outdoors in the tent when it's been cold. It's tough until your body adjusts to it.
Have a great and wonderful day.

Donna B said...

DJan, you are such a gentle soul...of course you would be concerned for the little birdies. I too make sure my bird feeder has water and we have pyracantha bushes FULL of red berries on our fence. The birds gorge their little bellies on the fruit...

I remember you fretting over your little eaglet. I can't believe a whole year has passed!

I find I cannot watch a lot of the nature shows because I cannot handle watching a baby cub lose his mother Lioness and watch the cub trying to befriend another lioness, who amazingly was skin and bones starving herself, but protected the cub for several weeks, only to have it taken down by a more powerful Lion.

Another vivid, regretful memory was a mother lioness painstakingly moving her four cubs to safe place so the hyenas would not get them, only to be killed protecting her cub from a snake. It was the worst thing I had ever seen on one of these BBC type nature shows. I cried for two days.

Nature is survival of the fitest and can be so cruel to observe...

Robert the Skeptic said...

Someone said that worry is like paying interest on money you haven't borrowed yet.

Norma Jean said...

Most of the time you spend time worrying about things that never happen. You can never get that time back, so it is wasted. It is too precious to waste. Stop worrying.

Don't worry, be happy,

Gigi said...

I never used to be a worrier - it seems to be creeping up on me as I continue to celebrate birthdays. It is a waste of time - I will admit.

gigi-hawaii said...

Jan, why did my comment not go through? Did you delete it? All I said was: I worry only about the future. How will I afford a nursing home if I become senile or crippled in old age?

gigi-hawaii said...

Hmmm. Now I see my previous comment. Sorry for the duplicate comment.

Linda Reeder said...

I am a worrier. My mother is a great worrier. I don't think I'm as bad as she is, though.
I disagree that worrying is a waste of time. often it leads to problem solving, at least in those instances where I have some control. Part of worrying is considering consequences. Worrying is cerebral, mental activity, so, hey, you can worry while you work. then it's not wasted time. :-)

Whitney Lee said...

I don't know that I'm a worrier, per se. I tend to think that thought is energy and my worry can create problems that might not have existed had I not given them power. I figure all I can do is see what happens and deal with it then; worrying won't accomplish much aside from putting me in a foul mood. Of course, there are times I cannot help it (I worry about my parents and such), but I think those fall under 'normal concerns.' Perhaps I'm simply rationalizing.

I will say, it was short sleeve weather here today, and this post made me grateful. I'm not sure my husband agrees as he was bemoaning the fact that we're predicted to get less than 12 inches of snow this year. Each time we ask Jordan what she wants for Christmas-this is the first year she's been old enough to understand and answer that question-she says "snow." So maybe you could blow some of that our way come Christmas...

Happy Sunday, DJan! I hope you have a wonderful week.

Buz said...

Worry can be a waste of energy and a negative force, but only with things over which you have no control. I spend very little time thinking about politics and news because it tears me up and tears me down. But if I choose to be relatively oblivious to the stupidity in the world, I can enjoy my days and be more effective in my feeble attempts to reach into the lives of others in a positive way.

Your birds are definitely benefiting from your worry-converted-to-action, so it's not a waste at all, and it's not negative. You are a benevolent presence in their midst.

charmine. said...

D-Jan you have snow already!Over here it's getting cold and soon we too will shiver...no snow though,maybe the temperature will drop till 1 or 2 deg.Anyway,Those birds will adapt,fret not.Have a warm cuppa and enjoy the day!

TechnoBabe said...

Icy streets and sidewalks is what is difficult for me. We should have snow shoes like people have snow tires for the cars. I had a bad slip/fall a few years ago that resulted in surgery on my right elbow and other places that were hurt. I am not a nervous Mervus on icy sidewalks but I am certainly cautious. I do like the photo of your little birdies on your terrace. And I am sure they are thanking you for breaking the ice so they had water.

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are such a kind gentle soul. I have a very hard time with deaths of animals too..but Mother Nature is sometimes brutal. I cannot watch some of the survival of the fittest type programs either..those Merecats were so sad.
About worry..it does no good..I TRY to do the things that I can do something about and leave the rest up to God:)

mrsnesbitt said...

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Cold here too in Yorkshire, UK - and we too are snowed in! Hibernation time me thinks!