Winter All At Once

Winter was treating us so well this year, with those of us wanting snow having to deal with disappointment as the weather warmed and the days felt and looked almost like spring.

Then things changed. All at once.

It’s almost as if in one week we were treated to a giant game of catch-up, with 2 feet of snow at one shot, blizzard conditions, heavy duty wind gusts and ice. And then more of the same. And then more.

The amount of snow settling in around here can make those of us who tend to focus on the worst be nervous about what a spring thaw and spring floods might bring into our basements and yards and roads.

Meanwhile, the often subzero wind chill makes being outside a brisk adventure.

But adventure is what winter is all about, and events coming up invite us to venture outdoors to enjoy what the season can offer.

Londonderry offers the annual Musquash Conservation Area Field Day on Feb. 7.

This free event offers a chance to learn about the outdoors in winter – information about local wildlife and winter botany will be offered – as well as to enjoy the conservation area with its opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

And the day includes one of the highlights of winter festivals – an open fire and refreshments.

Don’t stop there: conservation areas in all of our towns are equally fine settings for winter snowshoe and cross-country visits.

Derry’s annual Frost Festival, set for the weekend of Feb. 13-15, brings a wealth of outdoor events. Whether your taste runs to snowboarding or snowshoeing, or you’ve always wanted to learn how to ice fish, the Frost Festival offers plenty of free fun. And if you are more inclined to the observational, the ice sculptures come complete with free hot chocolate.

There’s a theme here. We live in an area replete with opportunities for winter fun – and you don’t have to spend your money on ski passes to enjoy it. Plenty of winter outdoor activities can be had for little to no money right in our own backyard – and you get the benefit of enjoying the stark but striking winter landscape and getting exercise at the same time.

Just bundle up, pay attention to windchill, and be careful.

And if you check your mailbox – and wow, even the U.S. Post Office stayed home one day last week – you just might find seed catalogues. So if staying warm indoors is your activity of choice, it’s a great time to think about what to grow in a garden. After all, spring has to come sometime.

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