Snowbirds

A snowbird is someone from the U.S. Northeast, U.S. Midwest, Pacific Northwest, or Canada who spends a large portion of winter in warmer locales such as California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt region of the southern and southwest United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean.
Snowbirds are typically retirees who wish to avoid the snow and cold temperatures of northern winter, but maintain ties with family and friends by staying there the rest of the year.

(a lovely Wikipedia explanation)

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(watering time out back for the three snowbirds)

Meet the snowbirds:
One kumquat tree, which just might just have an identity crisis as there is question as to whether or not it might just be a calamondin tree.
One recovering meyer lemon tree—recovering not from addiction but rather from a near death experience.
And a bare naked small peach tree.

This threesome is “over wintering” in my basement. Do you recall the post back in September “Don’t you know this isn’t southern California?” The post in which I was near sheer panic due to the fact that the kumquat / calamondin tree had really big nice round green fruit and that in just a few short weeks the first frosts of the season would be upon us?

And as fate would have it, those pretty little green orbs were not about to change before the frost hit—therefore sending me and the trees on a wild race of transportation down to the depths of the basement. Ever tried lifting giant potted trees into the back of a small trailer which is pulled by a Four wheeler, then lowering them down on mini dollies all in order to “roll” the trees inside for the duration of winter? Do you know what a hernia happens to feel like?!

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Well today was a lucky day for these little winter birds—the temperatures were such today that the trees could actually be rolled outside for a bit of much needed fresh air, a good hose watering minus the watering can, as well as the pleasure of actually enjoying a little bit of warming sunshine. According to the forecast, I think it’s safe for them to remain outside until later in the week—when freezing temps return. Boo hiss—please remind me to bring them back inside!

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All of today’s in and out business has made me mindful of the importance the sun plays for all of us living creatures. Not only will a little time outside, in the sun and fresh air, be beneficial for my little trees, it is certainly beneficial to me and my own winter blue mood. There is much truth about this sun business, especially for those who suffer from S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Be it a very real Vitamin D deficiency or simply the blue mood feeling of a tinge of depression that you just can’t put your finger on or pin point exactly why. . .
A lack of sun and fresh air is vital to the well being of most living creatures–with the exception being, perhaps, the naked mole rat, but I digress.

Nowhere else do we see the important role sunlight plays in our lives more poignantly acknowledged than in the small Norwegian town of Rjukan. A small town similar to other small towns worldwide but it is here in Rjukan where the mayor worries over the overt paleness of the town’s children.

For more than half the year, the 3400 residents of this small town, nestled deeply in the Scandinavian mountains, are without any direct sunlight as the sun rays are blocked by the tall lumbering mountains. Day in and day out the residents of Rjukan live literally in the shadows.
If townsfolk want to see and feel the sun, traveling out of town is the only remedy.

It wasn’t until 3 large reflective mirrors were installed that the residents of Rijukan realized just how much they’ve missed the sun. As the reflective mirrors redirect sunlight down onto the town’s central square, residents have noted how much they are not only warmed physically, but more importantly they are “mentally warmed.” There is even a YouTube news spot showcasing how the mirrors work—

But to me, what is notably telling about how well the mirrors are working is most strikingly observed by how local residents are now congregating in the square just to sit, feeling the sun warming their faces—relishing in the simple act of enjoying the sun which so many of us take for granted. Young mothers now push baby carriages into the sunny area of the square as older couples come to just sit together basking in the warmth as they rekindle their own warm memories. . . all while the sun beckons the weary eyed individuals to come find a warm spot of color in the otherwise grey world of shadows.
(here is a copy of an article appearing in The Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/rjukan-sun-norway-town-mirrors )

So if you’re finding yourself a bit out of sorts, feeling overwhelmed by this never ending winter of snow and ice or if you simply feel as if you’re living too deeply in the shadows. . .take heart— remember the sun will shine again, there will be warm days ahead and if all else fails. . .find a sunny spot, turn your face skyward and soak in a little vitamin D.

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Fruits of my labors, still gathering kumquats / calamondins in February!! Crazy tree!!!

One comment on “Snowbirds

  1. Fascinating solution to that problem in Norway. I’ve written several post about sunlight and how it sinks deep down beneath the skin to touch something other than flesh. Great post, Cookie. Enjoy your “whatever the heckk they are” fruits. Hugs, Natalie 🙂

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