So far, Chicago's 2012 winter has been pretty mild, or a "cake walk" as I heard on the local NPR station. Average snowfall should be around 40 inches, and the last four winters topped that with more than 50. But until now we have not had much more than 15 inches and January was much warmer than usual. Nothing subtropical, so nothing to get excited about; most of January was just above freezing during the day and mostly overcast and humid. But winter does come with some perks. After our snow-shoeing trip three weeks ago (see the earlier post Well, well, we even enjoyed the snow), amazing salt crystals appeared when we let our snowshoes dry.
|click to enlarge these sparkly diamonds|
These crystals are tiny and difficult to photograph if you don't have a good macro lens. But please click on the photos and explore this tiny salty universe. A macro lens is one of the things that I have on my wish list since lying flat on Kate's Tucson driveway last month, with Kyle Cassidy's macro lens and flash lights to take close ups of some harvester ants.
After two more inches of snow yesterday, we woke up to a brisk but crisp blue, sunny morning. That's another perk of Chicago's winter, at least our limited experience with the 2011 and 2012 winter: snowy days are followed by these refreshingly crisp days with sunlight so bright that you feel the vitamin D rush through your cheeks. So this morning we walked the 20 minutes to our local Italian bakery for espresso and homemade canoli, and people looked at us from their SUVs with heated seats as if we came from another planet. In fact, most people from the Chicago North Shore suburbs consider Amsterdam another planet. But we got our vitamin D, caffeine, sugar rush and met a new antique dealer - an Abbott spouse who was born in Alabama and who's still mad at her husband for bringing her to the North Shore................. 25 years ago. Go figure.