Winter fields in Northwest NJ

Ennui in the Snow & an Anniversary

There is an unusually painful and impatient expectation of Spring this year in the hills of northern New Jersey. Last week a nor’easter dropped about eighteen inches of snow on the area, plunging us into a cold mid-winter after an oft-spring-like February. (It’s probably Mother Nature admonishing us for our horrible stewardship.)

Even the physical activity of shoveling much of that snow, painfully, bit-by-bit, did nothing to stanch my ennui. I want to write and move on, but I find a dearth of interesting topics to write about. (Some critics might maintain that that is a fairly permanent state for me, but the ennui saps the energy I would normally use to fight that idea.)

I hoped that the switch to Daylight Savings Time would have brightened my mood as well as the evening suppers, but the snowstorm squelched that. There is something terribly, horribly wrong with having Daylight Savings Time coincide with snow.

My sister, who commutes easterly in the mornings (with my brother-in-law), reports that they had just passed the time of year where I-78 points blindingly into the direct sunrise when DST took over and repeated the painful process all over again.

Time after time, I find myself standing, waiting around the house, drumming my fingers in furious cadences, but hearing no answering drums to ease the dark.

Lent, the penitential season, is no help. It offers no consolation to writer’s block. The Great Mysteries are unhelpful to the writer of a self-help blog.

Snow on the Morris Canal

Recent snow at the Morris Canal in Wharton, NJ

I woke up before dawn this morning. I stumbled down the steps to the kitchen, brewed my Kensington Blend tea, and blearily admired the early morning dawn, with its golden reflection off the Matterhorn-like mountain of snow at the end of the driveway – reminding me of the still-live twinge in my right shoulder from shoveling the snow mound there in the first place.

Yet. Yet…. Turning to the backyard hill, you see the tree’s roots have created a natural heat-pump. The heat rises just enough to melt snow-free rounds around the tree trunks: the Earth is also waiting impatiently for spring, as are the trees’ denizens: the scrambling squirrels, the skipping songbirds, the angry blackbirds (the suburban hills’ gangsta birds – cawing their rap-rhythms at each other) and the geese still honking their daily commute from the park trees to the pond and back, sounding like impatient, angry Uber-drivers kept from their fares.

Still, I expect that heat-pump to warm my creative soul and melt that rime of frost off my mood. I wait for fickle Ms. Muse to pop up her head, like a crocus popping through the unmelted snow. I just realized it’s been five years, exactly, since the surgeon repaired my heart and my life, rescuing me, for a time, from the ground and cold roots that now gives hope and life to the trees.

Rose o’Sharon husks in the snow from my backyard

Spring is coming. Hurry! Please!


Photos are all by the author, Andrew Brandt.

Title photo is a rural winter vista from Highway 57 in northwest New Jersey. Copyright © 2015 by Andrew Brandt.

Black and white photo was taken at the Morris Canal restoration in Wharton, NJ, after a recent snowstorm. Copyright © 2017 by Andrew Brandt.

The photo of Rose o’Sharon husks and snow was taken recently in the author’s backyard. Texturization, colorized light leaks and grunge borders were created in Photoshop using Topaz Labs Texture Effects. Copyright © 2017 by Andrew Brandt.

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