Posted in Air, Beach, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Maryland, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter, Wonder, Year of the Bird

Nature’s rewards

Light from the sun rising up behind the pond.

You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there – the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed.

~ Frederick Buechner

Fiery sunlight peering through the trees.

The deep freeze is still upon us here on the Eastern Shore.  We continue to be under a wind chill advisory because the “feels like” temperature is subzero.  Brrrrr!  Without the heat pump working, I’m beginning to feel the chill on a deeper level.  It’s a reminder to appreciate what I have when I have it.  I’ve done a lot of complaining about the heat pump, but haven’t given much thanks for it when it’s working.

Mr. Cardinal in the backyard.

The last two days have been bright and sunny and, in spite of the cold, some snow-melt has occurred.  There is a steady drip at the front of the house in the morning when the sun is hitting it.  The snowdrifts are shrinking although I suppose that could be gravity or weight pulling them down.

Sunning himself.

At the end of yesterday’s post I mentioned “good decisions” as one of the few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy.  Well.  Shortly after I wrote that post, M asked, “Want to go out to the Point?” and instead of sticking with the smart choice and responding in the negative, I said, “Sure.  Why not?”  M had walked out to our road, found it had been plowed, and figured we could always turn around if we ran into a snowdrift that was too high for our car to make it through or over.

The road to the Point (yesterday).

The car performed quite well.  We took our time, and the snow piled on the road due to drifting wasn’t too bad.  We later found out that a good and generous neighbor had been out with his own plow taking care of the road.

A good neighbor.

One of the wonderful things about being willing to brave whatever the weather throws at you is that Mother Nature will frequently reward you for getting out there.  That was the case yesterday at the Point.  I went there hoping to capture some ice formations from water and wind.  Silly me.  I should have remembered that the last time I was out there — which was Wednesday — the surface of the water was already frozen.  There was no (liquid) water to be thrown around by the wind and formed into sculptures on the beach and grasses by the cold.

Looking out over the Sound.

What I did see along the shoreline was beautiful — and I’ll show you some of that in a bit — but it was the dead tree that I named the Eagle Tree that captured my attention when we first arrived and started walking around on the beach.

Two Bald Eagles.

As usual, I heard them before I saw them.  They were perched on the tree, calling out in their unusual way (Cornell’s All About Birds describes the female’s call as “unlike any other calls in nature”).

Keeping an eye on M.

With this being the Year of the Bird, I had decided to start paying more attention to the birds and this was an auspicious beginning to that endeavor.  The Bald Eagles are such beautiful, majestic creatures, and I love listening to them chatter and call.

Frozen on the beach.

I haven’t gone outside today.  It’s colder than it was yesterday and tonight is supposed to be the coldest of the season so far.  I might go out to the Point around sunset, but we’ll see.  I can’t seem to shake this chill.  I don’t know if I caught a bug along the way when we were traveling or if it’s from the lack of heat during this cold spell.  It’s not THAT bad in the house, by the way.  We can usually get it up to about 70°F in the living room with the fire roaring.  The rest of the house is about 60°F which is a heck of a lot warmer than it is outside.  Sleeping has been great.  I always sleep well in the cold as long as the bed is warm.  We have a water bed and it’s heated.  We piled on lots of quilts and it’s one of the best places to be on wintry night.  (Leaving it and venturing out into the cold in the morning is a different story.)

Ice at the beach.

Thank you for dropping by today and joining me out at the Point.  Stay warm and well.  Or cool and well if you’re in the southern hemisphere.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Melting and freezing.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  511)  Looking out the window, watching M go by on his cross-country skis.  512)  Sunshine streaming through the windows and warming up the house.  513)  Watching and listening to the Bald Eagles.  514)  Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal visiting the feeders.  515)  The flash of red and yellow on the wings of the Red-Winged Blackbirds who have been trying to eat up all the bird food.  (The usual thousands of them have been coming around.)

In the marsh.


Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

27 thoughts on “Nature’s rewards

  1. Oh my, Robin–gorgeous photos. The cardinal photos are spectacular, and I can’t believe that you can get those shots of eagles. (I played the Cornell sound, and startled one of my cats. His little ears perked up.) 🙂
    Our house is usually about 69-70 and kind of drafty, and I turn the heat down at night, but I sleep now under a ton of blankets and a cat. I can’t believe it’s supposed to go below zero tonight.
    Did you ever listen to the old A Prairie Home Companion when the commercials for Bertha’s Kitty Boutique described how cold it was by the number of cats you needed to cover you? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂
      LOL! Yes, I do remember Bertha’s Kitty Boutique. We are currently sleeping with two cats, but I think this morning’s -2° temperature is worth a bed covered in cats. Or a couple of big dogs for the dog people.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh oh oh! I loved the cardinals! The light is just perfect and they’re (or he?) are all puffed up. And of course I love the eagles. Are they a pair? Do pairs stick together in eagle land? I know so little about them. I’ve only ever seen one at any one time. Then I love the colors of the “ice at the beach” and “in the marsh.” Sure am glad you decided to go out there!

    I know about the inside your bones cold. When I was up at the northern house cat sitting they keep their thermostat at 68, and the furnace is at one end of the house. The bedrooms are at the other end and they seemed to run about 55-58 degrees, cooler when the wind blew. It was nice under all the comforters for sleeping..but hard to get up in the morning. And after a week I was just COLD all the time! I wore long underwear under my clothes all the time. I’m glad to be back in my warm house, even if it doesn’t have a great lake view. I hope you can get your heat pump fixed soon! But it will be warmer next week so maybe it’s a moot point anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Dawn. 🙂 Yes, they are a pair. Breeding season typically starts at the end of January so they should have their nests built and ready to go.
      And yes! That’s it (about the cold). I’m just COLD all the time now. The only warm room is the living room. I’m going to start a new fashion line of long underwear. I’ve been wearing it so much it would be nice to have something a little less drab. 😉


  3. Auspicious eagle sighting, a power totem! Love the gold grasses contrasting with the blue snow/ice shadows. I hope you warm up, maybe a hot tub, then straight into bed! The heated waterbed sounds cozy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 The heated waterbed IS cozy. I think I need to take more naps while we’re waiting for the heat pump to be repaired. I thought about a hot bath, but the bathroom is ice cold. I’ve been quick-showering and hurry-up dressing. 😀
      The eagles were amazing. We watched them fly around a bit. One flew close by but I never think to take a picture when I’m watching them fly that close. It’s as if I’m frozen in the moment. (Almost literally this time of year…lol!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your cardinal photos are stunning! This is the time of year where we have lots of bald eagles as they migrate through, so we often see several on the trip to town.
    Hope your heat pump gets fixed soon. I like it cooler and keep my thermostat set on 66 daytimes (when the kids are here we go to 68), and 50 at night. I have really warm fluffy furry fleece sheets and a comforter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. 🙂 Bald Eagles winter and breed here so this is a good time of year for us to see them, too. We usually have a pair nesting in the Mystery Woods across the street. I’ve heard them, but haven’t seen them yet this year.
      Fleece sheets?? I didn’t know there was such a thing. I’ll have to look for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful photo of the cardinal! It has been bitterly cold here in Toronto as well. The streets are empty of pedestrians and people are staying home if they can. Can’t wait for the cold snap to break.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Goodness, the sweet softness of that cardinal! I have had to pull out my space heaters, which are little oil-filled radiators and quite nicely take the edge off. I decided this when my heat pump ran for three hours straight without getting to the last degree I had it set to. Winter. I was out today with my face wrapped. It’s really quite cold. It would be worth being out to see those eagles, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t he gorgeous, Lisa? The male cardinals really stand out against the snow.
      I think they ought to abolish heat pumps in areas that get more than one or two days below freezing. They really don’t heat (I read that they only heat if they have a back-up heat source when the temperature falls below 30). The emergency heat we’re running on (which is the back-up heat source — coils with a blower, I think) is going to cost us a fortune in terms of electricity and it’s not doing much to heat the house above 60 (it’s not meant to). Given the cost of electricity to run a heat pump, I’m beginning to wonder if it wouldn’t make more sense to build a small addition to house a gas furnace and change over to propane heat.


    1. Thank you, Lisa (DM). 🙂 It was -2 when I got up this morning. Actual temperature! I don’t want to know what the windchill factor is. Tomorrow, when we get above freezing, is going to feel downright warm.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your bird pictures are beautiful…we often see eagle pairs here on the West Coast but have to fly back east to Ontario to find cardinals…I hope things warm up for you soon, take good care and thank you for sharing your wintry world!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Being the state bird of NC, I would be doing everyone a disservice if I did not comment on your beautiful cardinal photos. I’m afraid our cats have chased away the family of cardinals that was nesting in the grapevines.

    Agreed – this is great sleeping weather!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Walter. 🙂 The cardinal is a very popular bird when it comes to state birds. Three of the states I lived in chose the cardinal for their state bird. It’s a beautiful choice.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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