January Thaw

The Polar Express (aka the dip in the Gulf Stream) has finally retreated back to Canada and given us a break.  In Central Virginia our average January highs are about 44, with our average lows near 27.    For most of January, we had been lucky to get into the  low 20s for our highs.   Although we were not quite to the breaking dogs off fire hydrants stage, most of our dog walkers took short walks, too cold to exchange the normal pleasantries of “What”s the dog’s name?  And what is your name?”

snowy church yard

Yesterday morning, I got up early to get  to the car wash when it opened at 8 am.  The first relatively warm day would bring out a slew car of owners anxious to remove the brine left by the road crews before we got our 1 inch snow storm earlier in the week.  I was still 3rd in line.

prickly gum ballIt was a pleasure to only wear a sweatshirt and not the lined raincoat/sweatshirt that had been my daily outdoor wear since Christmas Day.    In addition to ever- increasing daylight, the sun threw-in a bit of warmth to the bright day.  The fallen gum drops actually nestled a bit into the dirt rather than laying frozen on top of the surface.  I even heard bird song when I went out.  (I could delude myself that the calendar had skipped over February and landed on early March.)

When I feel a bit of warmth on my face and hands, and turn on the radio before I do the seat heaters, I can imagine that winter may be loosening its bonds, at least a bit.  At the read and critique group yesterday, Louise admitted that she had been unable to write–her creative juices as frozen as the nearby Rivanna River.  She had been motivated enough to write a new post for her blog Laughing Waters Way.,  “Healing Tools for Finding Balance.”:

For a shaman, stones and crystals, which are imbued with their natural, characteristic vibration, are tools that focus the intention of the user, the recipient, and their Spirit Guides for the recipient’s well-being.

Following the trends of the seasons and knowing when to retreat are important lessons to master, especially for a shaman. Being that this is the “bear den” time of winter, when we are less active and more conveniently reflective, I am strongly connected to the mineral dolomite.

Today, we took advantage of the 60+ degrees to driving down 151 to Bold Rock Cidery for some  potatoe-sausage soup, smoked turkey panini sandwich with chips , and a glass of cider\.


We had dessert on the way back at Silverback Distillery.  One of Silverback’s signature drinks, The Smoked Old Fashion, is a thing of beauty.

Silverback--Firing up the Smoked Old FashionWatching the blow torch turning a spot on a barrel stave into red, smokey glowing embers is mesmerizing.

Silverback--Smoking the Smoked Old Fashioned HighballOnce the highball glass is full of smoke, they use an over-sized ice cube to hold the smokey taste in the glass.

The finished product is a true thing of beauty and taste.

Although it’s still too early for the seasonal farmer’s markets, I look forward to visiting the Nellysford Farmer’s Market below Wintergreen in a few months.


4 thoughts on “January Thaw”

  1. That’s lovely, evocative writing. Thank you.
    We, too, are in the midst of a January thaw. As a confirmed northerner, though, I view such things with suspicion and a touch of dread. Warm winter weather puts moisture in the air and that, in turn, breeds ice, sleet, and other disgusting things. When snow comes, it is wet and heavy — great for snowmen but awful to drive in and hell to get off the driveway. I woke to heavy fog this morning and, sure enough, the weather guy on the radio is promising a foot of the heavy stuff during the next 24 hours. It will be pretty, of course, but I much prefer the powdery snow we get when it’s 5 below zero. Call me a romantic (or something … ).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Will definitely give your snow blower a workout. Hope it’s not too wet and heavy. I remember shoveling some of that when I lived in Northern VA. Our next precip will be a light rain which won’t fix, but will ameliorate our current drought situation. Glad you liked the piece. The weather is so nice this weekend and it had been so cold since Christmas, I was really motivated to capture that allusion of springtime. Our tv meteorologist put up a picture of Monticello with tulips in front to further torture us that Spring will get here eventually. Meteorological Spring is 1 March.


  3. The real kicker is that my lovely snow blower has died, though certainly not from overwork. So far this winter, we have had snow three times, and only one of those was enough to cover the grass briefly. The machine has had nothing to do at all, and yet it acts like an emphysemic cow, complete with wheezes and a refusal to move. #$&!!*%%#@ global warming.


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