This Can’t Be Happening

working from home, wintry viewI’ve had my head down since 6 a.m., after I brewed my hot green tea, prepared the 1½ graham crackers I allow myself each early morning, and settled into my writing table at our second story home office. An hour and a half later, seemed like minutes, I finally notice that my tea is cold, and I look up.

I gasp.

winter photography, Susan Licht

Photo by Susan Licht.

The sight of snow falling sends me reeling into a magical world of romance and fantasy; of princesses searching for their true love; of magicians shooting magic from their wands; of me, jumping outside to race in circles with my tongue out, catching snowflakes.

But that’s when reality jumps in.

I hate cold. I hate winter. Therefore, I really don’t find snow exciting or a happy state of existence.

I pull my red scarf closer around my neck, puff on my chilled fingers, push my back in and out in a yogic sitting-up cat-and-dog posture, and go back to my keyboard.

But wait. No. This isn’t right.

wrintry landscape, window photographyI stand up again and walk downstairs to the kitchen. Brew another cup of tea. Walk over to the window where the day is awake but gray with falling snow, bare black branches rimmed now with white icing, songbirds quiet in their deliberate attention to stoking up at our hanging birdfeeder.

And that’s when it happens.

Two sparrows, a cardinal, and a blue jay, normally not the best of friends, stop their bickering at the feeder and hop down on the frosty ground. They peer up at my face, which is peering at them through the window.

They hop closer. They open their beaks.

And sing.

I understand every word of the verse.

They sing to the wonders of winter, the love of Mother Nature, the glory of beings who provide them tiny seeds in a storm.

They sing to the seasons of fruit and plenty, of ice and frost, of new growth and blossoms pinker than a baby’s tongue.

They fly closer to my window and smile with joy and gratefulness, and as much as I know this can’t be happening, – it CAN. NOT. BE. HAPPENING .  .  .

It does happen.

Because it’s 7:45 on a wintry snowy morning, where flakes fall as large as gifts, and my imagination sings along with my new winged friends.

winter photography, bird photography, Susan Licht

Photo by my talented friend, Susan Licht.

116 thoughts on “This Can’t Be Happening

  1. Magical as ever…. snow does that to you! We had a first dusting in my part of the UK yesterday, grand kids telephoning all excited, wanting it to stay! This being the UK the faintest trace of white Heathrow cancelling flights, precautionary overkill the runway on the news looked its normal grey!

    • Two inches or a ‘dusting’ of snow in New England is a shrug and life goes on. In Atlanta it’s ‘stop EVERYTHING’ …. for THREE DAYS!’ Funny. My guy keeps saying he wants to be in England for the holidays where everything is magically snowy and beautiful. I tell him that maybe in Charles Dickens time, but no longer…
      Still, I bet it’s amazingly magical even with just a ‘dusting’ in the UK.

  2. Pamela! Wow! The full magical force of the snow, the birds comes across so powerfully in this post. Exhuberance of the impossible, the mystical. Looking out at our rare winter wonderland here in England I can empathise totally, feel your joy. No singing birds…yet! I can’t wait to hear the crunch of ice and snow beneath my feet so soon off for a snow explore!

    • ‘ Exuberance of the impossible ‘ – that’s it exactly. Because really, there is no such thing as impossible. Just open up your imagination and it occurs. Hope you’re enjoying your wonderful snow experience.

  3. What a magical experience. Like you, I don’t like snow and cold, hence the move to Spain. But it does look pretty when you don’t have to drive or walk in it! Those little birds decided you needed a song to make your day. ❤

      • I just have to tell you, it snowed here on Wednesday!! It hasn´t snowed in this part of Spain for over 60 years, there were people here who had never seen snow. It was incredible. So much for me trying to get away from snow!! It is gone now but it was quite something to behold.

  4. Being the bird lover that I am, I loved this post, Pam! It’s such a thrill when our little feathered friends take notice of us. I’ve developed a close relationship with our resident cardinals. Each day, they come to the spot on the patio where I put sunflower seeds. If I’m late, they’ll perch on the concrete and look toward our kitchen window then break out into song. I love my birdies! ❤

  5. Many times our critter friends help refocus on the good. We feed the bird so there is always a crowd flapping around. They get along pretty well but they are not competing for food either with 4 feeders and ground seed.

  6. I remember as a young boy, watching the weather on the news before I snuggled myself in under the covers, hoping for an accumulation of wintry powder that would allow me to stay nestled in the warmth of my bed for as long as I wanted on the following morning, praying to the powers that be (with a tinge of guilt) to please not have school tomorrow. And I must clarify that I loved school, but it was the change in routine and the allure of something different that drew me toward my desires. That, and the feeling of wonder when I pulled back the curtains the following morning to reveal a blanket of purity covering everything outside. Even though the weatherman stated with a 90% accuracy that there would be 12 inches of snow on the ground my sunup, I was still surprised. It’s the way something arrives on our doorstep (quiet literally in this case, but also in a metaphorical sense) with such innocence – and silence – that makes its message all that more powerful. Your story reminds me of that literal experience of snow falling and the metaphorical one of the birds arriving to greet you. It can’t happen, not logically at least, but that is why being there, experiencing it, and allowing your mind to accept it makes its message all that more powerful – anything and everything is possible when we are open to acceptance. Enjoy the snow, and the birds, Pamela – and thank you for adding a much needed blanket of inspiration to the start of my weekend 🙂

    • Ahhhhh, I love the idea of spreading a warm cozy blanket of inspiration over my friends. This is what we desire in a book that we read, or a poem that we savor, or a writer’s comment that spurs us on to continue accepting the impossible as it comes falling softly (literally and metaphorically) at our door. ❤

  7. What an absolutely brilliant way to start my day–by reading this post. Snow is falling here as well, and I already have my cup of tea beside me. Your post quickly transported me to the magic of winter, joy and gratitude!

    • As much as I dislike being cold, and dislike having cold flakes of white-patterned ice fall on my face, I must admit. . . When I MAKE myself walk outside on a snowy day, the peaceful, graceful silence astounds me into deep deep gratitude. I have to keep that within me, to fight off the goosebumps. 🙂

    • Snow falling is like magic sprinkling down on all of us: the trees, the people, the creatures. B U T, afterwards, the cold can definitely be mind (and body) numbing. :-0 Enjoy the warmth and the beauty of where you are located now – I certainly love reading about it.

  8. I have a birdfeeder outside my study window all because I swoon at the birdy activity throughout the day. I love writing with the birds, probably because they always seem so joyful and spirited . . . and hungry! What a treat for you to have those birds serenading you. Winter can be a nice time of year when we see the beauty in it! Have a writerly day!!

    • Bird watching can definitely be distracting. In the spring, my guy and I sit on our stoop and watch the birds and their shenanigans on the bird feeder. We learn the status and hierarchy of each bird – it’s quite incredible. And what’s neat is that they get used to us watching them, so they ignore us as they spat with each other, and then calm down and find their manners again. 🙂

  9. Lovely post. I haven’t seen snow yet this year, but only because I was away–the snow visited while I was gone. We’ll see if it happens again here in the mid-Atlantic! Stay warm this weekend–I hear it’s going to be a cold one!

  10. Love this, Pam. The world and all its life is so much more intertwined than we ever can imagine. I think there are those rare moments when we break through the boundaries that separate us and all of a sudden we can communicate with birds, hear the voice of the trees, see ourselves as no different from the snowflakes. Wonderful post. Enjoy the winter magic. ❤

    • You got it, Courtney. Whining about the cold only makes life …. colder. I think that may be why I find more magic on days that are stormy – need to push myself out of my comfort zone and find the magic. xo

  11. Stunning and beautiful post, Pam!
    I don’t like the cold and snow either. . .but there are those moments. Sometimes, the magic hits you and makes your soul sing. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Even though neither of us like the cold (nor icy snow gathering on our shoulders), we’re both poets and romanticists, I believe, so fortunately we do set aside our differences with Mother Nature and applaud when she puts on a ‘show’ for us. 🙂

  12. I enjoyed the beautiful word-picture! I did worry about the birds, though. Hope someone close by (maybe you) has a bird feeder! Or did I miss the whole point of the story,which would be that the birds were imaginary!

    • The birds are quite real, and yes, we fill the birdfeeder in our yard every day. And the suet feeder is a favorite place of the woodpeckers, who come by in droves. And every once in a while, a woodpecker pecks on our window. I like to think she’s thanking us. ❤

    • Umnm, no, Susan, I will never be a winter lover (and I dare say that, even though I have definitely learned never to say never). But I am a ‘one-day-magical-snow lover.’ 🙂 Thank you for your gorgeous photos, which highlight my words so beautifully.

  13. I love watching my birds. They puff up so big in the cold. I always worry about their little feet, but I know they can stand the cold a lot better than I can. Lovely post.

    • Agreed – another blogger described the way birds’ and ducks’ feet stay warm in the cold. Difficult physics to understand, but the underlying message is – they don’t need to wear thick wool socks like we do! 🙂

    • Thank you, Ann. I know, I can grumble a lot in mid-winter, but then the sun sets fire (figuratively) on a thick blanket of snow in mid-afternoon, or a red cardinal alights on a snow-covered branch, and I close my mouth and sigh instead of whine. xo

  14. Big sigh…they say when we can cease fighting “what is” then we’ll truly be chirping, no matter what the weather or politics or latest family crisis. That’s where I’m aiming. Happy snow and happy melting!

  15. I’ve been buried under the weight of the most recent storm here. Using it as an excuse to hide from the world. Now I’ve gotta get out there again to see what else I’ve been missing. Don’t know whether I should thank you or not…

  16. Oh Pam, I enjoyed your post – the photos, the words, the birds. I was intrigued to find that you like the snow no more than I like our summer. We are sweltering in summer right now. I don’t like the heat. It makes me tired and lethargic, and very uncomfortable. I’ve not experienced snow as you have. It appears magical to me, as do these two lovely birds that sang for you, It reminds me of one of my favourite Christmas picture books “The Christmas Robin” who trilled at the top of the Christmas tree.

    • I must admit (don’t tell anyone) that I wouldn’t mind trading places with you for a day or two. I’ll take the heat and sweat, you can have the cold fingers (I say this as I move stiff fingers over my keyboard) and added layers over layers. Then, I think we’ll both appreciate each other’s complaints, as well as the beauty and challenges of both settings. 🙂

  17. Ah, how nice is that? Maybe it wasn’t so magic though and they’d spotted your graham crackers 🙂 I’m ambivalent about snow since the winter of 62/63 where the temperatures were sub-zero for six weeks and what started off as fluffy, soft and fun, with no fresh falls ended up filthy dirty, slushy and depressing.

  18. One and a half graham crackers? That’s just the beginning for me!!

    Great picture of the little bird on a BIG pile of snow! I know your pain. I was missing snow when I moved out to the Portland, OR area…until this week. We got dumped on and it’s still here because it has been unusually frigid. No one knows what to do. Schools have been closed for a week! Snow shovels? What are they? It’s as if I never left New England (except there, they know what to do with the snow and things go back to normal after you get a foot of snow).

    Oh well. Can’t do much but wait for the weather to change. I know it will. It always does! 😉

    • Yes, New Englanders are kind of chuckling at Georgia and Oregon, unable to deal with a teeny tiny foot or so of snow. (Actually, Atlanta got an inch I think.) 🙂 Sorry the white stuff came over to visit you. Did any birdies come say hi too? Just give ’em some graham crackers – they’ll love you. 🙂

  19. It rarely snows here but when it does, it’s always a shocker. Even if I know it’s coming, I usually work away from windows, so I don’t see when it starts falling. I don’t like being snowed in, but I can say that there is SUCH a quiet beauty in looking through the window at it.

  20. Beautiful, Pam! The snow is magical. It sounds like you were in a happy place. I love the change of seasons, but winter can be the hardest with it’s bleak, gray days. Snow always lifts my spirits as it blankets the world around me in its purity. Gone is the harsh look of winter. Those swirling snowflakes bring beauty and magic.

    • Winter gray is definitely a difficult color to live in day after day. That must be why Mother Nature created the pure white of a snowfall. The entire landscape changes to a wonderland. If we lived way way out in the wilderness, this beauty would remain throughout the season. But in the ‘real’ world, unfortunately, the purity soon turns muddy and brown. 😦

  21. Lovely reverie, Pamela! No snow here in Florida, but plenty of birds, squirrels twisting around on trees, and DUCKS on the lake. Today I have carved out time to do a post on the waterfowl in the lake behind us. We’ll see how that goes.

    I am always fascinated reading about writers’ work habits and their work spaces, yours in front of a window as mine is. Great for a good outlook!

    • Looking forward to reading about your ducks. It just might ‘quack me up.’ 🙂 Every writing office I’ve worked from has a window. My favorite one overlooked the SF Bay, where I saw pelicans and barking seals. But now, the serenity of the trees – deep and lush green in the summer, bare and brave in the winter, gives me new inspiration.

  22. The photos are lovely and spiritual. And I always enjoy reading descriptions of what’s happening outdoors or outside someone’s window. It all seems so calm and peaceful. The little bird is a junco and for about the past 10 years, I’ve not had a singe junco come to my feeders. I reckon that the weather has not been sufficiently cold to bring them into my area of Texas or maybe they are here- just not in my neighborhood due to decreases in habitat.

    Imagination is a marvelous tribute to possess. After all that has made you a successful writer.

    • That one-day snow would be my idea of perfection, Andrea. We in Boston are getting a huge snowstorm today. Again, the day of the storm is quite wondrous and beautiful and magical and it shows the power of mother nature. Perfection would be a change to 70° and sun tomorrow. Ha ha .

    • Every once in a while, Mother Nature (and her animals) lets us see the magic in her kingdom (queendom?), and we forget the cold and the sniffles and the sore shoveling back. Just every. once. in. a. while.

    • I agree, Britt. Check out Susan Licht’s website that I have underneath that snow bird photo. She is a spectacular photographer, and fortunately a good friend who offers me her photos for my blog from time to time!!

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