Monday, December 16, 2019

Fire in the Trees

How to survive a Maine winter
We lived in Illinois, thankfully.
When cold blows in from Canada, pushed up by warm wind from Texas, snow happens suddenly and furiously.  Only older siblings, big enough to sink only to the knee and then leap into the snow face first, could rejoice.

For two small children, enjoyment was peering out through icy panes and wishing.  Mom…Mom…Mom…Can we go outside, too?  Mom? Mom?  Mom relented only when Mom became unbearable.

Two and four years old, Mary and Bill were wrapped, bundled, booted, and mittened, then given instructions:  Stay on the porch.  Both nodded solemnly.

Mom stood at the kitchen door, staring through the lacy ice crystals at five children enjoying the snow.  Then Bill launched off the porch into deep white sea. Bill, she sighed. 

Stomping out the door, Mom grabbed him by scruff of his coat and pulled him up.  Then Mary whispered, “Mommy!  Mommy!  Look!  Fire in trees!  Fire in snow!”

Fire in the trees?  In the snow?  She beheld glorious cardinals perched in bare trees.  Fiery cardinals with black masks.  Brave cardinals in frigid air.

Fire in the Trees
Mom hollered, “You kids get in here.  Been out long enough!”  But she continued to watch until fire became scarlet birds winging over snowy horizons.  


For those bloggers in the beginning of a long winter, this story is about the snow of 1958, which has been called the mini-ice age.  Keep warm, enjoy the beauty as much as you are able, and Merry Christmas.


48 comments:

  1. Beautiful...the snow, the memories, the red bird...all of it! ☃️

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    1. In 1996, we flew back to Illinois just after Christmas and re-lived that memory. I can still see Mom at that window, several times. Bill was a wild kid, adventurous.

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  2. I grew up in an area that gets over 120 inches of snow a year. It is beautiful but I prefer it from afar.

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  3. Oh sure, Canada gets blamed for EVERYTHING.

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  4. I'm laughing at Deb's comment above. BUT yes, I love the story. We who may get 3" all year love pictures of the snow, it is part of Christmas for some reason. Some things are photogenic without trying, sorta like cats and snow. LOL I love the story and I truly remember one snow and a cardinal. It was 1946, when spring came and I built my first wagon I painted my first bird, I was 7, it was a cardinal. I loved the wording including a 'black mask' why had I never put that in words? THANKS.
    Sherry & jack

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  5. What fun memories you have to share with us. Your use of adjectives and adverbs conjure up much of the story in my mind. Beautiful photo of the "fire," too.

    Hope you have a lovely, safe, and very merry Christmas, Susan.

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    1. Merry Christmas to you, as well! Playing and using words while writing is pure pleasure.

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  6. I don't think I'd know what to do with snow. Best I stick to climes where that sort of thing doesn't happen.

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    1. Well, someday try snow angels, snowmen, and snowball fights. then head inside for something hot. Thing about CA is that the snow mtns. are about 2 hrs drive away in most places.

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  7. I like snow when I do not have to commute or travel. I also love on Long Island. We often get a lot here but I can imagine it becoming unbearable in some severe climates.

    I also appreciate cardinals in the winter time.

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    1. Illinois will seem mild compared to the northern states. Long Island could get heavy snow so close to the ocean.

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  8. Cardinals would have me glued to my vantage point until they flew away. Each and every time.

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    1. Me, too. More than once I have been amazed and awed by my favorite bird. Against the snow, cardinals are stunning.

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  9. Yeah let's blame Canada for the snow! Actually, that would be a little unfair as I'm in the UK, so I'll blame Scotland instead. I wish we had Cardinals in our back garden, they are such beautiful birds, but you can keep the snow.

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    1. I live in California now, so Illinois can keep the snow!

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  10. Cool story! They do stand out against the winter...

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    1. To me, cardinals against the snow is almost beyond description.

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  11. We used to have mountains of it here. Thankfully, not any more.

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    1. Seeing all that snow on the news makes me grateful that it is up there.

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  12. I love the warm wind in Texas! Especially in the winter time. Not so much in the summer. :(

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  13. The fiery red of such a beautiful bird, that's a lovely way to describe it.

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    1. No matter how old I get, the vision of them still catches me.

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  14. There is nothing more beautiful than cardinals in the snow.

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  15. When we were barely school age, Dad would bring in a big pan of snow for my sister and I to play with at the kitchen table. We never made snow ice cream, but we made many mini-snowmen.

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    1. Your dad was glad to see you have that.

      After a big fluffy snow fall, Mom would fill her giant dish pan of the new snow and bring it in. She added rich cream (from our cows), sugar, and vanilla extract. It was wonderful! Gave us the worst brain freeze, but worth it.

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  16. We don't have cardinals in the UK. Only bishops. They walk diagonally all the time for some reason.

    God bless.

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    1. Bishop can walk in any old direction they deem as advantageous.

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  17. Snow at your end of the world, a heat wave at my end. 40C heading for 44C on Friday. a big thank you to whoever invented air conditioning.

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    1. May God bless them and keep them comfortably cool!

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  18. Just stopped by to say, Happy Holidays.

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  19. The only time I've seen that much snow was when I lived in West Virginia for a year. We hardly ever get snow here in Vegas.

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    1. Oh, yes. Vegas gets the heat and monsoon-like rain, but snow won't go that low.

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  20. We saw about an inch of snow since moving here. It was up in Moville, two years ago. If you don't get lots of snow just a little bit can cause lots of problems especially with drivers. Can't say I miss the snow but I like looking at it.

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    1. People who haven't ever driven in snow and ice do not know its difficulty. Like you, I gaze at the snow, not leap into it.

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  21. A college of cardinals were resting in the neighbor's trees a couple of years ago. Among all that bright red was a yellow cardinal. The contrast was resplendent.

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  22. Cardinals in winter are so beautiful! And I've seen snow that high when a door is opened before- gotta love northern winter!

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  23. There is nothing quite as dramatic as snow, evergreens and cardinals. And I see it every day in my backyard.

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    1. You are one lucky man! Dramatic is a good word.

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  24. yeah...very nice,keep sharing...

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  25. loved the resemblance you used here
    cardinal in snow looks like a red coal indeed witty imagery

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!