[Editor's Note: I wrote this late last night and didn't realize that it didn't post. So I am posting it now, but I am doing no editing of it.]
Today was the day I had to make my annual trip to get a new work visa. I have been making this trip for several years, and at this time of year for most of those. (I used to make it in the early fall, but that is another story.)
The weather today was beautiful, at least it was once I was into the trip. It was a very grey morning in Massachusetts, but the sun was bright and warm in New Hampshire and Vermont. The roads were clear and dry, and relatively free of traffic.
I should say that this was a very pleasant change from the previous years, especially the last two. Last year I had to make the drive during a snow storm that dropped about 45cm of snow. The year before that I made the drive in a snow storm that kept getting worse and ended up officially being declared a blizzard.
Sunny, above freezing (about 3C), dry roads, ... very nice change. Enough to remind me of how beautiful a drive it can be. It can be a relaxing drive as well. Although when making it to see if the Department of Homeland Security will allow me to continue living my current life, vs having to pull up all roots and leave the country immediately, the drive up is never relaxing. But there was a lot to see.
It is virtually all interstate highway and winds its way through the mountains, valleys, and forests of New England. All of it covered by a blanket of snow.
There are still snow banks as tall as me around Boston, but get a little bit north of here and the snow thins out and is only a few inches deep. And looking out the side windows, as long as I looked a few feet past the edge of the ploughed shoulder of the road, the snow was still clean and white. And full of tracks. Rabbit. Fox. Deer. Coyote. Moose. Several animals had left their tracks in the snow. I think I saw one or two of these animals moving just beyond the tree line, but I could not be sure.
That is not to say that I only saw tracks. I also saw crows. Lots of crows. They were almost everywhere I looked, and several of them seemed to be watching me as I went by. Black eyes staring out of islands of darkness in a sea of white. In direct sunlight the contrast was such that the blackness of the crows appeared as an empty hole in the world.
Another one of the sights that caught my eye was the ice.
On several of the exposed rock faces there were sheets of ice. Well, no. Not really sheets, but what looked like frozen waterfalls. Imagine a raging waterfall coming through the cracks in a shattered rockface, and that waterfall being frozen solid in an instant. That is what it looked like.
Did mention the colour? The ice was white, of course, but in some of the larger "icefalls" there were patches that were somewhat clear. Then there were the streams of pale blue throughout some of the thicker portions. I wish I could have gotten some pictures of the most beautiful, but this was on an interstate highway as I said. No stopping. I did take a couple of pictures at rest areas when I stopped to stretch my legs. If they turn out (I wasn't sure about the light or the batteries in the camera) I will be posting them in my Buzznet account.
I left the most impressive sight for last.
On the way back I was coming around a bend in the highway just as the sun was going down and right there, about 10 feet from the shoulder, was a large hawk. I wish I could tell you what kind, but I was travelling at highway speed (although I almost slammed on the brakes when I saw it) and could not get a long enough view to identify it. I can tell you it was about twice the size of a Red-Tailed hawk. It was chowing down on a recent kill, but seemed to acknowledge me as I passed.
I will admit to feeling a bit of a thrill when I saw him.
That's enough typing for tonight. It was a long day of driving, and I need to get some sleep.
If you are interested I'll tell you about what happened at the border crossing with INS. Not that it was interesting.
Walk in Beauty.