Wind-whipped snow

Life-threatening wind chills.

Near record low temperatures.


Schools closed.

Travel not recommended.

Towing bans.

And a propane shortage/price hike to boot!

To add insult to injury, your friend posts a “selfie” from a beach in Mexico.

And another friend suggests you really ought to take a quick trip to Florida.

And miss out on the beauty of an Iowa January?

Sun dogs

At dawn, the sun dogs leap into the sky, forming a half-circle around the sun as it peeks above the horizon.

You’re surprised to see a lone car fading in and out of the blowing snow as it tests the road atop a distant hill.

Warm & sunny bed

In the shelter of the woods below the barn, a lone doe finds a sunny spot and tucks her nose into her warm coat for a long nap.

Goldfinches, juncos, tree sparrows, downy woodpeckers, and other hardy birds devour sunflower hearts non-stop – barely pausing to move a few feet away as you fill the feeder for the umpteenth time. Even the littlest birds seem fat, with their feathers puffed up for better insulation.

Puffed-up tree sparrow

Will that make them easier targets for the marauding sharp-shinned hawk, who arrives out of nowhere to perch in the tree and wait for an unwitting nuthatch or chickadee to come to the feeder?

Hungry sharpie

Eventually, as the afternoon temperature tops out at 2 below, you strap on your skis for a quick test of yesterday’s powdery snow.

Breaking a new trail through the five inches of fluff will keep you warm.

Ski trail

And the squeak of your skis on the frigid flakes almost drowns out the groaning of the wind in the woods.

Deer tracks zig-zagging along the path prove that the deer don’t spend the entire day bedded down in the sun.

Black shapes against the bright-white hillside erupt into four wild turkeys, whose foraging you interrupted. You wish the birds well as they soar over the treetops and head down into the creek valley for an out-of-the-wind roost.

Ah, that wind . . .

Your cheeks burn as you turn into the icy breeze.

Time to head back to the house, put another log on the fire, and email your snowbird friends a photo to show them what they’re missing!

Travel not advised!
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