Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Snowy Morning in Northern New Jersey

Lovely images of a snow clad winter wonderland are often in vogue for this time of the year, around the holiday season and all. But once the actual holiday season is over - and it just ended - then winter, and particularly winter storms, can became more of a source of stress than anything else. The cold weather starts to grate on you, begins to wear you down at some point in January, and you look ahead, and there are still months to go before it even begins to warm up significantly. 

And snow may have it's charms, true. Certainly my son thinks so. So do most kids, because snow can be so much fun. It's a time for all sorts of fun and games, with visions of sleigh riding, snow angels, skiing, ice skating, hockey, snowboarding, snowball fights, and making snow men. Also, not least important of all, it's a time when you can get surprise days off from school!

Plus, of course, snow is very pretty. It can indeed feel magical, especially when you are young. Spend some time outside in the snow, and then come in and warm up, preferably with hot chocolate. If you are lucky, maybe you have a fireplace, you can warm yourself up by it, with that hot cocoa. Or, like happened all day on Saturday (today, as I write this), you can just have a lazy day relaxing, enjoying watching some rentals, and just taking it easy. Of course, that assumes that you have a day off from work, as I did today - the only day off that I have entirely, from beginning to end, once every two weeks. Then, it can actually have it's charms. 

Yes, all of that can be fun, and for that, winter indeed might be the best time to do all of those kinds of things. That is when winter, and particularly winter storms, can be fun.

However, winter can be a bit too much after a while, when you have to bundle up each time that you want to go out. The cold can be more than a little inconvenience if you have to be out there for any significant length of time, it can even potentially be downright dangerous under the right (or rather, the wrong) set of circumstances. And sometimes, it can be brutally, punishingly cold, which makes it unpleasant to set foot outside of your door sometimes. Plus, you have to shovel that stuff, and when it is heavy and there is a lot of it, it can be extremely tiresome and time-consuming, not to mention inconvenient. You might hurt your back and hands. Then, there is the possibility of slipping on the ice, and hurting yourself in a fall, which happens fairly often. Perhaps the most stressful is having to drive during wintry conditions, as snow complicates matters. During the winter, you also have to watch out for black ice, which will make things slippery, but which you might not see on time to avoid. And the worst is when there is either a wintry mix, or a downright hailstorm, and the roads become a sheet of ice. This makes driving very hazardous, and that becomes especially true on hills.

Then, sometimes, it gets so cold, that the snow that falls freezes, and turns into ice. Sometimes that ice becomes very hard, and becomes stubborn and almost impossible to remove, and you have to view it as a hazard every time you pass by it. Sometimes, the snow storms seem to line up to hit you, and they just come too quickly and too often. Or you might get a few monstrous snowstorms with huge total snow accumulations, and life stops for a day or two for the roads to be cleared, and for everyone to dig themselves out. 

In short, winter can be more than a little stressful, and you can just imagine how much more stressful it would have been centuries ago, when they could not harvest much food from the earth when it was covered in snow and/or ice, or felt very hard. 

Yes, winter can be stressful indeed.

However, it can still have it's charms from time to time. I particularly like light snowstorms. meaning snowfalls where the roads really are not covered, and this traveling does not become particularly hazardous or menacing. Then, these snowstorms can be downright beautiful, when it is enough to cover the grass and the trees and makes everything appear as if it were a winter wonderland.

Such was the case when I worked my regular overnight shift, and then got called in to sub in the same town - Rahway, New Jersey. There is a part there - the Rahway River Park, that has a lake and the river within it, as well as some greenery. Of course, during this time of the year, it is not so green, as the leaves are all long gone, and the grass is not necessarily all that green. But I went to this park after my shift ended, but before the school day started. It just felt like an idea to take advantage of this opportunity to take a walk and enjoy the wintry scenes, as the landscape had become coated in fresh snow. I particularly stayed around the water, as this adds (in my opinion) still more charm and dramatic effect to the scenery, and to pictures.

Yes, I took pictures.

Because this is when winter can be downright fun for adults, too. When the magic of the beauty of a wintry landscape returns, and the stress that it can be responsible for is largely reduced or even forgotten, at least momentarily. That was the case on this morning, when driving the short distance was not overly stressful, and when walking around and looking for some nice spots to take pictures to capture the beauty before you becomes downright fun!

So, that was what I did, and I decided to share them here, in fact:

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