Winter so far has brought enough bitter cold and snow to make us believe that it’s serious this year. The snowshoeing has been great. I’m thinking of it as the start of training for next summer’s north woods adventure (still in the planning stages).
The word “bombogenesis” had somehow escaped my notice for some 56 years…until yesterday. According to NOAA, the term describes the rapid intensification of a mid-latitude cyclone, measured by its drop in central atmospheric pressure. A drop of 24 millibars or more in 24 hours creates a bomb cyclone like Winter Storm Grayson, whose pressure dropped an incredible 59 millibars as it approached New England yesterday. Skies are still dark here, but soon I’ll head out to start shoveling my way to the garage and our snow blower. As of now, school is open with a 2-hour delay.
Around nine in the morning, the first powdery sprinkling of snow began dusting the ground. As I followed my favorite trail by the swamp to a far hill, I took a last look at the many animal tracks, almost memorized in my traipsing back and forth day after day. Dad had discovered the scene in the photo below, one sunny day last week. “There’s a story!” he exclaimed. Tiny prints of mouse or vole raced for the cover of a hole, the sweep of owl wings marking either the creature’s demise or narrow escape.
I ventured out again around one o’clock yesterday. The blizzard conditions were just starting, and snow was quickly reclaiming the forest, even a moving person. The particles bombarded me, an audible pelting against my parka. Once, a gust of wind gave a hint of the fury soon to follow and I thought of turning back, but didn’t. I was warm, the temperature thirty degrees warmer than on some recent days. At the same far hill, I turned around, the tracks I’d made already blurring into fluffy whiteness.
Trudging home, I could still faintly see depressions from the ski poles that my daughter Megan had used on Christmas week. Soon, they, too, would be buried, our ramblings just a pleasant memory of a week of family fun. The woods tomorrow will be all new.