Heat Wave

By Debbie Koenig

The weather gods are playing tricks on us, and I’ve fallen for it. We spent the holiday weekend up at our new house, in the western Catskills. The previous Saturday night we’d had to skedaddle early, before yet another storm dumped 8 inches of snow onto the foot already there. Presidents’ Weekend, though: glorious. Three straight days of sun, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. We spent as much time as possible outdoors — I dedicated 45 minutes to shoveling snow off the deck, just so we could linger for a while. By the time we headed back to the city, large patches of bare, muddy ground were showing.

That sustained stretch of warmth got me dreaming about what lies ahead. The short, dreary, gray days will soon turn brighter — and stay brighter, longer. Flowers will start to peek through the thawing ground, and so will vegetables and herbs. Berry bushes and fruit trees will start to blossom. We’ll have visual proof that abundance is on the way. Which, frankly, I’m more than ready to witness. Once the mud begins to dry up, here’s what’s on my agenda.

Going for long walks without my down parka. The house is on an officially designated scenic byway, which means I’m in for some spectacular vistas. And the fact that we’re in the mountains, 3 miles from the nearest town, means my legs will get a really good workout. (On a topographical map I suspect our street looks like a length of rickrack.)

Speaking of hills, I’m anxious to scamper down the substantial one behind the house and hike around our property. By the time we closed on the house, in early December, snow already covered everything. We didn’t have a chance to explore.
At the foot of that hill is a dirt road, and beyond that nothing but little-used train tracks separates us from the Delaware River. Soon I’ll be standing on its banks, marveling at my good fortune. We are kayaking novices — my family only tried it for the first time last summer — but we’re already discussing how and when to buy our own.

Oh! And then there’s the food. Right now the nearby farmers markets feature mostly baked goods, meats, root vegetables, and apples from storage. I’m practically giddy to think that soon we’ll sample the first strawberries and pea shoots of spring, all from farms within about 10 miles. I’m even fantasizing about planting my own.

For now, though, winter isn’t finished with us. Cold weather is due back any day, and with it comes my urge to hunker down. I’ll be fighting that urge until the sun emerges for good.

Follow Debbie on Connect @debbieskoenig​

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