February Thaw

February Thaw

A day came last year enough warmer that, hallelujah, the snow began to retreat.  Hooray!  I grabbed my dog and headed out.  We walked along the shore of Lake Michigan in the northern reaches of Illinois Beach State Park.  At your back  is the lake.  Menacing ice floes are floating about, so we’ve turned our back on all that and are drinking in the hope of melting snow.  The air is heavy with moisture, and the ground is slushy and icy by turns.  Are your feet growing cold?  Mine did.  Westies, of course, are made of stern Scottish stuff and Pete urged me on and on that day.  Cold feet aside, it was very good to be able to get out and walk.  It was a bad winter, and many people fell on the ice.  Including me.  Twice.  So I was very, very glad to see this thaw.  It gave me hope.

May we have lots of hope in the coming year, and an end to hatred and intolerance.

Warm feet would be nice, too.



  1. I like the broad brushstrokes for the snow in the foreground, the curving line of grasses, the misty trees in the background. This painting has the same look as the melting, snowy mists I saw this morning. Happy New Year, best wishes to you and for your work in 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Tom. I was really tickled at how those broad strokes turned out. Once I had the structure of the dunes in place, I just slathered on the snow, letting my brush pick up colors here and there as I went. It was meant to be just the first pass that I would then refine but when I looked at it, I realized it looked just how I wanted it so I left it. I loved this scene the moment I saw it, with its sweeping lines drawing you right in.
      Hopefully I’ll be seeing melting snow today 🙂
      A very Happy New Year to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear you fell on the ice twice (at least it rhymes). Speaking of twice, your phrase “drinking in the hope of melting snow” lends itself to two interpretations: 1) the “in” goes with “drinking” as part of the compound verb “drinking in,” whose object is hope; 2) the “in” is the introductory preposition in the phrase “in the hope of melting snow,” which then leaves us wondering what you were drinking as an impetus for hope.

    May you be 20/20 in your visions for 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such wonderful lushness and softness despite the cold feet, Melissa! Reflects I believe a kind generous heart! And with the progression from foreground to background itself a soothing visual walk for us! Projects much hope! I’ll gladly take it! 😊 Happy New Year, and, Happy New Decade, Melissa! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wishing you a speedy thaw. I’ve known winters like that and really wouldn’t like to return to them.

    Being ever the optimist I’m hoping perhaps this year we may attempt to return to some peace and sanity. Your work is simply beautiful. I could feel myself in that frigid scene and shivered! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The brush strokes are what I first noticed as others have mentioned. But as we move inward the bare trees and mists from the melting snow pull us further into the scene. A lovely painting, Melissa. We are in the midst of thawing and rain, not the way winter should be and not necessarily appreciated. Your thoughts for an improved world are echoed by many. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The spring thaw always was a special time during my years in Iowa, and watching the snow retreat on the northern side of the ditches was great fun. The mix of mud and snow made for treacherous driving and wasn’t so pretty, but it still was a sign of hope, and your painting evokes that time for me.

    As for rum, here’s my dad’s recipe for spiced rum punch. We’d always make a batch, and then keep it in the refrigerators in Mason jars. After shoveling or ice skating, it was great to heat up a cupful, and warm up from the inside.


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