What a Day!..and the Irony of it All

Last Saturday was the first substantial snowfall that we’ve had all season.  To herald the occasion, I was out of bed by 5AM, shoveling the sidewalk by 5:20 or so, and on the road by 6:30.  I would have left much earlier, but you can’t get into the preserves earlier than dawn, and the sun wasn’t due until 7:03, so I took my time.

snowy fungus

snowy fungus

As things worked out, I should have dawdled a great deal longer.

As an aside, let me say that I can’t help but feel that so much of our lives these days are colored by these various shades of irony, though without the comedic relief.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.  For example, I write a blog about experiences in nature, deep thoughts while sitting around and all that good stuff…yet I have to drive 8 to 10 miles to actually get out to these woods.  I sit in my car so I can go sit in the woods.  swell.  And then there’s the fact that the forest preserve “closes” at dusk, and “opens” at dawn?  I understand the reasoning behind this, and it makes sense; but is there not an irony in the fact that I have to observe visiting hours in order to spend time in the natural spaces that I seek?

Prairie Snowball

Prairie Snowball

Anyways, I hurried out the door and was on the road, unplowed, which felt all adventurous, and I was dead set on being the first one out at Bemis Woods.  You know, to beat out the throngs of naturegoers lining up to go wander around at 7AM on a Saturday morning.  Well, I get to the place, and right as I’m pulling up I see the snowplow man closing the ‘closed’ chain behind him and heading up the way.  I was a little early, so I felt okay about things at this point and figured I’d just drive around for a bit until he got things tidied up.

An hour later, after driving up and down through dark and slowly waking neighborhoods, peering in the windows of unwary Americans – the man sitting alone at his dining room table, the woman at her desk in an office with floor to ceiling bookshelves that I now covet, a couple people here and there shoveling the walk – the snowplow dude is STILL not finished.  Another irony, I guess – to get up early in the morning so as to enjoy the sun slowly filling the spaces and lines of a snowy woods, only to spend my morning driving around looking in people’s windows.

Bemis First Snow-13

Icicles in Salt Creek

And to top it all off, I had to stop and get gas.

Around 8:00 o’clock I phoned home and the family was roused and willing to come out with me.  So, I returned from whence I came, was nearly killed by another snowplow that threw a blinding sheet of slush and salt onto my windshield as I was passing, had an Eggo, a cup of coffee, and piled everyone in the car to go back and check out the scenery.

Snowplow dude was just leaving when we arrived.

All in all, when it was all said and done, it was a good time and time well spent.  I got some pretty good pictures, and the kids had a lot of fun before their toes started to freeze.  I also had the chance to see where a vole or some other rodent had been tunneling under the snow, which was pretty cool being that I’ve been reading up and getting all lerned on winter ecology this past season.

So there you go.

6 comments on “What a Day!..and the Irony of it All

  1. Smoky Zeidel says:

    I was back in Chicago this last weekend, and experienced that snow. Sad occasion, the death of my first husband…but the snow was lovely. And also convinced me, once again, that moving to Southern California was a smart move on my part! (GRIN!)

    And I know what you mean about the dawn-til-dusk hours at the preserves. There is nothing more magical, more enchanting, than a night hike, and you can’t do that when the preserves lock up on you. Wish there was some sort of test you could take that proved you were (a) not a hooligan out to destroy the woods, and (b) functionally literate when it comes to the great outdoors. Then, they’d let you in no matter what time of day.

    • willjhud says:

      Hey Smoky..I’m glad you got to see the snow, but I’m truly sorry to hear of this sad occassion that brought you back to Chi-town.

      I agree with you, though, I think that some sort of ‘test’ would be great. I believe they are working on creating camping spots with sites and cabins in the Cook County Preserves, which is pretty exciting.

  2. Amber says:

    Again, beautiful pictures! I agree about the hours at the forest preserves. There is something serene about watching a sunrise in the midst of nature (which means you would have to get there before sunrise!).

    • willjhud says:

      Thanks Amber. And to be fair to the snowplow guy, he was there right at 7, and sunrise was around 7:03…so if there hadn’t been all the fresh snow he had to plow, then maybe I could’ve gotten my wintry sunrise! ah well, fortunately, these woodlands aren’t going anywhere, and it seems like the sun will continue to rise and set for awhile longer, so I’ll get another chance I’m sure!

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