Everything is so confusing, in this strange first week of winter in the eastern United States.
Lawns across our area of upstate New York are normally either buried under snow, or temporarily showing their brown, dormant, color.
But no snow for us, except perhaps for Monday.
Instead, we have a new phenomenon - melted Santas. On green lawns. Some of which have been recently mowed.
Meanwhile, one of my spring blooming Lenten Roses has flower buds. Taken in the dark, I hope to see a better show, in the light, on Christmas Day.
This isn't all good, though, as much as snow and ice hating me is loving it. After the last two harsh winters, I think to myself, we deserve this.
Not so fast. "Be careful what you wish for", a small voice in my head tells me.
My spouse said to me, while driving the other night, "what if it NEVER gets really cold this winter?" He's right. The thought gives me...excuse the expression...chills.
We grow a nice apple crop in this area. Apple trees need chilling.
Our area maple syrup crop will fail without the right combination of warmth and coldness in the early spring.
There is a concept known as "chill hours". It has nothing to do with chillin' around the grill.
Rather, chill hours refers to the need of many plants grown in the North to go dormant for a certain amount of time. Not only that, but if there is a sudden late frost, the plants will get confused at best, and not be able to adapt at worst. Apples need just about the most chill hours of any plant, although there are low chill apple varieties.
We need snow cover, too.
In other words, plants where I live in the Southern Tier of upstate New York need winter.
Maybe, in a way, people do, too. Many have just not been able to get into the holiday spirit. Our internal calendars are dazed and confused. We don't know what time it is.
In a way, we northerners need chill hours, too.
I hate to admit it.
But for now, I am enjoying the unseasonable weather, and lack of ice and snow.
Just don't melt our Santas.