The torch relay is complete and the cauldron has been lit by Olympic gold medalist Yuna Kim, who even skated a little before the official lighting.
So let the Winter Games begin.
I used to follow figure skating competition for years and watched every televised skating event for the individual men’s and women’s competitions. Back in the 80s and 90s, I followed not only the “Battle of the Brians” but the careers of all the young men and women skaters, until slowly each of those skaters eventually went pro or retired. Though I’m not familiar with anyone competing in the five upcoming Olympic skating events, I will probably try and catch a few performances over the next two weeks.
Tonight I saw snippets of the Opening Day ceremony and heard an interesting factoid. Apparently, some of the snow made for these Olympics comes from snow-making machines manufactured right here in Michigan.
Truthfully, Michigan could send a lot of the real deal to Pyeongchang without batting an eyelash – there’s a whole lotta snowin’ goin’ on here right now!
First, there was three inches of fresh snow overnight, and since then, the snow has been coming at a fast and furious pace, sometimes at about one inch of snow per hour. Reports on total depth in my city vary from 8 to 10 inches so far. Enough already! The snow had icy pellets and was not the soft and powdery kind like earlier in the week. It stung my face with tiny, needle-like pings. I was soaking wet when I came back in the house this morning, dripping snow from the pom-pom on my chullo hat to my lug-soled boots. My jacket hood blocks my peripheral vision, so I usually keep it pushed back off my head, but, I’m sure I flicked out at least a shovelful of snow into the laundry tub from inside my jacket hood.
But, enough of me and my travails … at least I didn’t have to go out again later as my neighbor took the snow blower to both our properties around 3:30 p.m. I was ecstatic, especially as I wasn’t counting on him doing so, since he is recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia.
While outside this morning, between huffing and puffing and hefting and hoisting, I did take a few minutes to gaze at, and appreciate, the snowy vista before tackling all that white stuff.
During the Winter, my neighbor’s yard usually holds more intrigue than mine, like this forlorn-looking fire pit, its embers snuffed out months ago, and now buried beneath more than a foot of accumulated snow. Firewood is piled up near the garage waiting to take the chill out of a late Spring evening – remind me again what Spring is please.
There are lethal-looking icicles lined up like soldiers, that dare you to get near them, because, should they snap in half, they’d surely stab you and you’d be a goner. Mercifully, last year’s insulation job now keeps my house icicle free, thus eliminating the need to go along and knock them down one-by-one with a broom handle.
But, ice is everywhere else and I slid more than once after I removed the snow off the sidewalk. A fellow blogger took a tumble last week after sliding on a snow-covered patch of ice. She fell hard onto her arm and broke it in three places, necessitating surgery and pins in her left arm. These days I’m glad to step into the house and onto the landing, and leave that ice and snow behind, because just thinking about poor TJ’s painful ordeal makes me shudder.
Those Winter games may be 6,583 miles away from my house, but I’ve had a Winter game going on in my own yard.
Since I can’t get my kicks in the sticks until the weather gets a whole lot better, I’ve gotten a little nature fix, courtesy of a beautiful blue jay. From his high perch in the tall oak tree, this bird, with its distinct crest and beautiful plumage, has been watching me intently while I shovel, the gears in its brain no doubt thinking “gee, I’m glad I don’t have to do that.” I’ve glanced over more than a few times to see a pair of steely eyes fixed on my every move and the occasional screeching serves to further announce his presence.
So, yesterday I had a little extra time since there was no snow to shovel, save for the mess the snow plow made at the end of the two driveway. Once again, the blue jay was in residence in his tree, so I reached into my pocket to pull out some peanuts left over from Saturday’s foray to the Park. I took three peanuts out and placed them on the wall ledge near the garage. Then I stepped back and watched from around the corner. That blue jay flew down immediately and swooped by to grab one peanut with his sharp beak. He’s much too big of a bird to land on the ledge, necessitating a “fly-by” so he repeated that move two more times, gliding by gracefully, collecting his prize and off he went again. Next, I placed three more peanuts, standing up straight up in the snow. He was not so eager to dive bomb onto that snow-covered boxwood bush, so he looked at me and I quipped “well, now you’ll have to get your feet wet for these Bud.” After a moment’s hesitation, there he was, a flash of blue in the gray sky, once again making three trips, perhaps taking them home for the family. I lingered in the cold to watch him, then demonstrated I had no more peanuts by turning the bag inside out. He looked dubious, but then flew away.
Today, the snow was flying and I took a breather in the backyard after I saw the blue jay in the same spot. I swear this savvy bird looked right at my coat pocket as if to insinuate I was holding out on him. Of course I was packing peanuts in my pocket, so I lined up three on the ledge and another three in the snow just like before, then told him “a peanut for your thoughts my fine feathered friend but I gotta fly now.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as one by one they disappeared, then so did he, just as I was kicking the snow off the shovel and my boots to go into the house.
I wish I’d taken pictures of our little interaction, but it was snowing so heavily I didn’t want to risk taking the camera outside. But, I am sure this bird is one of many that used to frequent my neighbor Marge’s back deck where she always plied them with treats every morning so she could watch the feeding frenzy from her kitchen window or door wall and take photos of them.
I wonder if this is the same jay that I interacted with today?
I know he’ll be waiting on me tomorrow when I go outside, his newly discovered benefactor and dispenser of peanuts. Shh – don’t tell the squirrels I’m sharing their goodies!
[Image of fire and ice by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay]