unknown wayfarers

1.4.22 ~ Avery Farm Nature Preserve

I guess my feet know where they want me to go
Walking on a country road

~ James Taylor
♫ (Country Road) ♫

rusting away

We didn’t last too long out there, but we hadn’t had a walk since December 15th — because of all the holiday preparations and a long visit with family and bad weather — so we decided to go anyway, in spite of the temperature being 21°F/-6°C. With the light northwest wind the feels-like temperature was 10°F/-12°C. But the sunshine was bright and abundant!

frozen pool off Haley Brook

The brief moments I took my hand out of my glove to take these pictures were enough to turn my fingers painfully cold. Even quickly sticking the fingers back in the Thinsulate glove didn’t help. (All my other thermal layers were working superbly, though!) So that sent me back to the car to warm my hands in the warm air from the heater. Sigh. After we got home I looked online for some warmer mittens and will try them out as soon as they get here…

ice forming over running water

In our hurried pace back to the car we encountered an elderly man walking in the opposite direction. He gave us a very wide berth. We exchanged muffled good mornings but it was obvious that some of us are still trying to stay six feet apart, much like we were at the beginning of the pandemic. It made me reflect on how it was the same way with people when the Black Death was spreading in Scandinavia around 1350.

Haley Brook

Fourteen days later Kristin saw for the first time one sick of the plague. Rumor that the pest was raging in Nidaros and spreading through the country-side had come to Rissa — how, ’twas not easy to understand, for folk kept their houses, and every man fled to the woods or thickets if he saw an unknown wayfarer on the road; none would open his door to stranger-folk.
~ Sigrid Undset
(Kristin Lavransdatter: The Cross)


Although we had a lovely visit focused on our family for the holidays there was the background worry about the continuing spread of covid. The positivity rate in Connecticut was 9% before the visit. After they left we saw it jump from 15% to 18% to 20% to 22% to 24%. We may be “done” with this pandemic but it certainly isn’t done with us. Our town has gone back to indoor mask mandates.

sunlit frozen beauty

I may be crazy, but we’re expecting a snowstorm, a good old-fashioned nor’easter tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it!!! Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for but it would be nice to feel a little bit of normal for January for a change.

30 thoughts on “unknown wayfarers”

  1. Barbara, loved thew photos – esp. the last with the orange leaf! Hope you can find a kind of gloves that actually gives off warmth – I know they can be bought in Norway – special gloves for cold weather and maybe rheumatic hands.

    1. Thank you, Leelah! That orange leaf called out to me as I was passing by, begging me to take one last picture with my frozen fingers. My new mittens arrived yesterday and hopefully I’ll try them out soon. Would love to get my hands on some of your heat-giving Norwegian gloves!

  2. Our COVID rates are up, too. Sigh. When will this end?? Glad you had a nice visit with family over the holidays. Barbara, these are stunning photos! I appreciate your getting outside in such COLD weather to bring them to us. Today is 15 degrees and gray — too wretched to walk me or Monkey, I’m afraid.

    1. Gosh, I wish we could know when this pandemic will end, Debbie… I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and I thank you for your kind words. 🙂 Those below freezing days are hard to manage between wanting to get out of the house due to cabin fever, and wanting to stay in the house, safe from the bone-chilling cold. Good luck to you and Monkey!

  3. Your photo of ice forming over running water is cool. [No pun intended.] If you get your snowstorm tomorrow I hope you enjoy it to the fullest. We have yet to see anything more than a dusting of snow and it doesn’t seem like January.

    1. Thank you, Ally. We did get our snowstorm and it was wonderful, not too much, not too little, dare I say, the perfect storm? It was fun to imagine we were living in a normal January for a change. I hope you get a nice snowstorm at least once before winter leaves us.

  4. I had to laugh at your last paragraph, Barbara. It’s come to the point where we look upon a winter storm as a welcome respite from the world! Sigh. I only hope it is dry and fluffy, as wet and heavy is tough on our aging bodies. 😉
    Lovely pix, per usual. The first few with farm equipment reminds me of our land when we first moved here… lots of old, rusting farm equipment, most horse drawn, scattered around the property.

    1. Thank you, Eliza! It was dry and fluffy!!! It was a treat and I actually forgot about the pandemic and climate change for a few hours there… And the snow stuck around. I was a little annoyed when Tim swept it all off the balcony. Did you have all the rusting farm equipment removed from your property or did you leave it to watch Mother Nature slowly reclaim it?

      1. Most was left in place to rust and decay. The plow and hay rake are still around (my neighbor claimed the rake as a lawn ornament 😉 ). The wood sledge has rotted away with only the metal parts left. My husband cut up the manure spreader because he didn’t want our boys climbing on it and possibly getting hurt. He pulled down a small barn for the same reason. A good dad. 🙂

        1. A good father, indeed! 🙂 Sounds like a wonderful place, with room to breathe and run, to raise a family. ♡

          1. It’s hard for me to believe that my kids are middle-aged and live far away as well. It’s such a long way from Connecticut to Georgia and North Carolina. 🙁

  5. Oh I love that rusty farm equipment, Barbara! The sunlit frozen beauty photo is my favorite. We are in the path of your mentioned storm, tonight we may get 3-5″ but tomorrow the winds will be 20-25+ mph for us, going to be brutal cold. Stay safe and warm!

    1. Thank you, Donna! Rusty farm equipment has undeniable nostalgic charm, doesn’t it? To think all that woods used to be pastures. I’m glad you liked the sunlit frozen beauty picture — it was the last one I took, taking my ice cold finger out one last time before racing back to the car. Hope you weathered your storm well!

  6. As I read your writing, fascinated by your photos, I got to the “Ice” photo and my bare feet became very cold. I hade to put on two layers is socks! Mind you that I’m sitting in comfort of my cottage 75 degrees inside, sunny day with the high 70’s. It isn’t cold here. But I could feel the cold through your words and photos! I lived in CO for a dozen years and the coldest I experienced was negative eleven. I do know cold!

    I also thought about “the plague” this week, wondered it’s similarity to this pandemic. Then I just thought I was just weird for even thinking about that. Guess not so weird after all. The insert you chose to add was very interesting!

    I could see the “ice forming over running water” photos become a beautiful layered acrylic/oil painting. Gorgeous capture of that moment.

    Although I’m not a fan of snow, I do know that it has its moments when it is very very pretty. So I’m hoping that you, Barbara, get your wish of a good old-fashioned nor’easter snowstorm… and perhaps a moment or a few moments of a few beautiful picturesque memories to share with us, (selfish, I am.). Smiles and snowflakes your way.

    1. It’s amazing that the power of suggestion can make us feel colder than we were before! I bet parts of Colorado are colder than Connecticut, although I do remember the temperature going below zero on a number of occasions when I was a child. My parents would bundle us up for the half-mile walk to the bus stop and instruct us to keep the scarves over our mouths so the frigid air wouldn’t have a direct route to our lungs.

      I read “Kristin Lavransdatter” when I was in my 20s and have re-read it many times since then. That period of Norwegian history fascinates me, especially from the perspectives of women then. After I first read about how it ended Kristin’s life I started reading books about the Black Death. My father was a virologist so the ways diseases spread has always been of great interest to me. I also spend time wondering what my father would have thought of this coronavirus.

      So happy you enjoyed the ice forming over running water — thank you! I did get my wish and got some pictures, too. I don’t think the gulls were too happy about the situation, though. 😉

      1. Your father’s work as a virologist possibly taught you so much more about how to live a healthy life than most people. I see why you read and have interest in the Black Death; and now the tracking, study and sharing information of what you learn about the coronavirus in your location.

        Yesterday the national news stated that Texas has rapidly increased to 38% positivity reported to the CDC. Certainly, it would be interesting to know what your father would be thinking of these times in pandemic. I’m beginning to think that it might become as common as the “common cold or flu”.

        My sensitive comes from living with an auto-immune disease therefore I feel hypersensitivity. I must take extra measures to keep myself protected as I have absolutely no control of other people’s behavior nor reasons.

        1. It’s true, I feel like I’m hyper-aware of germs everywhere… Thanks, Papa! (I think! Not sure if it’s been a blessing or a curse.)

          Wow! 38%. I was horrified when we reached 25%. Ours seems to have peaked and is now down to 20%. I hope this keeps going down and I hope yours turns around soon. I understand how having an autoimmune disease requires even more vigilance to protect yourself. One of my brothers-in-law is in the same situation. Getting an annual covid shot may well be in our futures as this virus becomes endemic.

          1. I didn’t know that there’s a word for it, Barbara. Endemic. Nonetheless I’m still wearing my mask; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

          2. I’m with you, I’ll be wearing my mask and avoiding crowds for a good long time!

  7. I’ve been wondering if you got your snowstorm. Our son in New Jersey just sent a picture and texted they got 4-5 inches. It looks pretty. We had 15-20 inches this week and it’s been beautiful but not much fun doing snow removal tasks. As for taking pics in cold weather—brrrr! You did well to get so many.

    1. Yes, we got about 5 inches here, the same as your son. Light and fluffy. Enough to make me very happy! 🙂 One Connecticut town got 14 inches! You guys get so much snow up there on the Upper Peninsula that it must seem silly to you when we get so excited over so little over here. 😉 I assume you have the necessary tools, like snow blowers, maybe even a payloader, to handle the mountains of snow?

  8. Lovely winter photos. Kudos for braving the cold. The rusty farm equipment reminds me of our family farm which my uncle inherited because he was half an hour older than his twin, my father. I often wonder how my life would have been different had I grown up there instead of in town.

    1. Thank you, Anna. Like you, I often wonder how things would have been different if people, including myself, had made other decisions. That seems very unfair to favor one twin over another just because of birth order. Seems like the farm should have been left to both of them, in my humble opinion. My younger sister and I inherited our parents house. She wanted it and I didn’t so she bought my share from me.

  9. Did you get your coveted snowstorm Barbara? This morning I heard the prediction was for a Winter Wallop your way, but didn’t hear any more about it. (We had a couple of freeway shootings and the Oxford High School shooter and his parents were in court today for separate hearings so that monopolized the local and even the national news.) I like this peaceful walk you took, the leaves that linger with a little ice on them. A nice walk with only one person to worry about passing you. I like the wheel rusting away. Those were very cold temperatures, but at least it was clear and dry to walk which is a pleasure in Winter. I’m hoping tomorrow to get out mid-day before the next freezing rain event Saturday night. Our positivity rate was 31 the last I heard. The major hospitals around here, even with Federal help in the form of teams of medical personnel are begging people to get vaccinated, boosted and wear a mask. Our Governor’s husband has tested positive, but she is fine and isolating in another part of the house.

    1. Yes, we did get it! Not as much snow in our neck of the woods as predicted but 5 inches was enough to make me very happy. 🙂 Did you get the freezing rain last night? I hate that stuff, it’s so dangerous to drive or walk when everything is coated with ice. It’s supposed to hit most of Connecticut this afternoon but it looks like we’re escaping with just plain rain in the southeastern part of the state.
      Your 31% positivity rate is astounding… It’s so sad that so many health-care workers have burned out and had to quit or retire. And now scientists in Cyprus have found 25 cases of a strain of the coronavirus that combines elements of the delta and omicron variants… Sigh… Let’s hope it fizzles out.

      1. Well 5 inches is a good amount. We were supposed to get that much last Saturday night and just got the 2 inches, mixed with sleet. You always get our weather the next day and we did get the freezing rain which started last night and lasted through 4:00 a.m. Then it was plain rain. I like to walk early, but it was going to 37 so I waited until then, around noon, then set out on a walk, but the wind picked up and by the time I got home it was 24 mph winds. I’m not a small person and it was buffeting me around … you are so petite you would have blown to Rhode Island. 🙂

        We have horrible stats here and that positivity rate was one of the highest in the country again. I keep hearing public service announcements to ask retired medical personnel to come back and help or asking anyone to volunteer or apply for housekeeping jobs as they don’t have enough people to keep the hospitals running efficiently. Scary times. I heard about that new strain too – a double whammy. Fingers crossed it fizzles.

        1. Yup, our state is always the next stop after yours on the weather train. 🙂 You’re right, doesn’t take much wind to knock me off my feet. 😉

          It’s tricky trying to find the right time to take a walk with these crazy unpredictable weather variations. Between climate change and future pandemics I’m afraid we’re going to be forced to deal with more erratic uncertainty and instability than ever going forward. It’s all very disquieting and it’s getting harder and harder to be optimistic about the world to come.

          1. Yes, you’ll be getting this cold tomorrow. Bitter cold and I’m about to go down and run a small load of laundry to warm the pipes as it is going to between -5 and -15 tonight. You’re right Barbara about the worries of even getting out to enjoy a walk, try to have some normalcy anymore. The weather doesn’t seem normal about anything anymore … more high winds than ever before, more ice storms and then plunging into a deep freeze. I know we get cold and ice and snow in Winter, but we’ve had little snow, more rain and freezing rain. The World Meteorological Association said today that 2021 was the 5th hottest Summer on record. And the other day they said it was not cold enough to kill the ticks (though I’d beg to differ with them with tonight’s temps). The uncertainty happening now, when we have waited so long in our lives to have leisure time at our disposal, yet a fear of doing whatever we want, is disheartening indeed.

          2. Yup, we did get it Tuesday and looks like we’re getting another bitter cold blast tomorrow (Saturday). Followed by warming up and a storm Sunday night into Monday. They don’t know where the rain-snow line will be yet. Sigh. I also heard December was the warmest December on record. Ticks do survive the winter months by going dormant or latching onto a host. I wish we didn’t need toxic chemicals to protect ourselves.

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