Having just returned from a Holiday visit to what might be the eastern edge of Flyover Country, I find that things have remained well-preserved here in our own bit of landscape. When things are in a deep freeze they seem to keep well. The snow is a bit deeper, the lakes have gone from five inches of ice on them to fifteen inches now. Yet we have actually progressed from a winter solstice short day length to actually gaining a minute of daylight.
Having traveled to upstate New York, we explored the very perimeter of our familiar habitat. We touched the beginnings of the great eastern megalopolis as we landed in Philadelphia and then transferred to a flight to land us in the foothills of the Catskills in New York State. It was kind of a warm southern vacation for us as the temperatures were up in the high twenties and thirties (that’s above zero) and the sun seemed to rise a half hour earlier that it does at home. There was no ice on the lakes and bare ground greeted us. The day before Christmas found us grilling on the deck!
We did experience a couple of snowfalls while there and even experienced the odd phenomenon of snow changing to rain as warm moist air pushed in from the Atlantic during a storm. Our return was delayed by wintry weather that snarled flights on the eastern seaboard and we had to stay an extra night in Philadelphia. We were then greeted with a clear day after the storm to make our return flight. The expanse of Flyover Country spread before us, ever-changing.
As we neared our destination, the dark wooded hills, interspersed with square white fields and irregular patches of the white frozen lakes came into view. I knew we were home when the lakes began to have tracks of snowmobiles on their surface and cleared hockey rinks near the shore. Finally as we approached our airport, I could discern the tiny figures of people fishing on the lakes and miniature ice shelters with a set of tracks leading up to each of them. The official temperature at the airport as we landed was zero degrees-home sweet home!