Sunday, February 6, 2022

Photo of the Day: Icy Wooded Way, NJ

In my neck of the woods in Northern New Jersey this winter, more so than in my childhood, the weather has tended less towards snow than what the weather forecasters call a “wintry mix”—i.e., some combination of snow, rain, freezing rain and sleet. There might be less of the white stuff on the ground, but that doesn’t make it necessarily easier to take.

What I’m talking about is ice, like what we had Friday night into Saturday morning. For the first time that I can remember, the local news stations’ meteorologists were explaining how an uptake of, say, 0.19” versus 0.3” of ice could lead to more of the crystal clinging to wires—and causing power outages.

And that’s not even the getting into walking or driving on “black ice.”

So far this season, I’ve been grateful not just that this “wintry mix” has occurred on weekends, but also during a period when I could work remotely. This means that I haven’t had to drive to work in uncertain, shifting conditions for nearly an hour before the sun even comes out in the morning.

So, Saturday morning, I waited—and waited—until the snow on the street and sidewalk across from my home increasingly melted. At 10 am, beginning to get cabin fever, I walked out to my driveway for a quick trip to the store. Even at that point, I was careful to grab hold of my car to keep from falling—something I might have survived without serious mishap when younger, but much less likely now.

By mid-morning, the ice was in retreat. But you could still see evidence of it on the ground, as I did when I photographed this wintry, grassy corner in Tenafly, near the Roosevelt Common.

During the spring, summer, fall, and even warmer winter days, parents are likely to take their kids and dogs, happy to have the protection of tree branches. But by mid-afternoon on Saturday, this section of the park was empty, with the trees casting lonely shadows on the ground. For those willing to brave the wind chill in the teens, the sight of all this ice would have been the last straw, forcing a fast rethinking of their plans.

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