Chilly Scenes Of Winter
March 2nd, 2017

Here it is March, yet from all appearances we here in Utah are still stuck in the dead of winter. Two weeks ago I noticed migratory songbirds were flitting about and so turned on my backyard fountain, which doubles as a birdbath. Today, that fountain has become an ice sculpture.


Last week, hoping for a change of scenery, I motored south to Capitol Reef National Park. As is my wont, I avoided I-15 through Utah County in order to avoid violating Provo airspace. I took a road less traveled by, State Route 68, which skirts the west side of Utah Lake, passing orchards, alfalfa fields and sod farms—none of which were visible thanks to a blinding blizzard. I didn’t encounter another vehicle along the way, which—given the road conditions—was just as well.

west side utah lake

At the Broken Spur in Torrey, I met up with my photographer friend Mark Citret and his photographer friend Judy Molle. The pair had been on the road for days, enjoying off-season room rates and uncrowded trails at Zion and Bryce. Along with his mentor Ansel Adams, Mark has taught many workshops at Yosemite, a landscape which seems now to follow him wherever he goes.

Park Confusion

The three of us enjoyed almost an entire day of sunshine before a vicious northern wind began to blow. Come morning, the parking lot had become an ice rink, obliging us to walk like penguins to the lodge for our complimentary continental breakfast. For the remainder of the adventure we mostly sat, drank coffee, ate pancakes and stared out the window. I’m told that’s pretty much all there is to do in Greenland, and yet Greenlanders aren’t unhappy. Comes a point when instead of always wishing the weather would warm up, you just settle in and go with the arctic flow.

The trip home was more of the same: scudding clouds, snow flurries, black ice, squeaking windshield wipers, streaked windshield. A few miles north of Salina I stopped the car and braved the blizzard in order to shoot this picture of a gnarled cottonwood. Not until after I had uploaded the image to my computer did I notice that there are three (count ‘em!) eagles perched in the branches.

cottonwood in fog

And now here I sit, staring at my frozen fountain, waiting for those songbirds to show.

-Richard Menzies