Thoughts About Drab Days On A Drab Day In February

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When people talk about how much they hate winters around here, it often has less to do with the snow + ice, and more to do with the lack of bright natural light and showy colors, as shown in the photo above.

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Even the trees around here, who reveal more of themselves in the winter, don’t seem cheerful– making the little boxwood bushes, who do the color green like nobody’s business, seem almost frivolous.

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Of course interspersed with the low-light days we get a day like last Thursday.  A day with the sun shining brightly in the clear blue sky.  A day made for looking up through leafless, snowless tree branches.  A day for contrast.

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But then we’re back to a landscape filled with muted, tea-stained colors– that offer a quiet beauty that appeals to some people, like me, but depresses the heck out of others.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

66 thoughts on “Thoughts About Drab Days On A Drab Day In February”

  1. “muted, tea-stained colors” – what a perfect description. This time of year does offer a chance to see understated environment before it goes whacky – hysterically happy – with color. It’s actually very nice…except when it pours down rain every single day and I’m stuck inside with a hysterically happy dog. Seems like raincoats/waterproof powder jackets are gorilla glued on this winter. But looking through the window to the outside is a bit like watching old b/w tv!

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    1. philmouse, you’re right that looking out the window is like watching an old B&W TV. I enjoy the understatedness of this time of year– didn’t used to, but do now. I realize, however, that many of my friends and family who have moved south to warmer climates have done so to avoid the drab colors I’m seeing outside right now. I agree about excessive rain. That can defeat you before you even go out the door. Stay dry, my friend.

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  2. I tire of this landscape fast. We had a downpour yesterday and it was delightful. Somehow even with nothing pushing up out of the ground yet, it smelled like spring. Maybe it was the freshness of rain or the relief that it wasn’t snow!

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    1. Kate, rain does freshen up the air in a way that smells hopeful. We have yet to any rain like that, most of our weather is like what I showed above. Drab skies, cold temps, with an occasionally blue sky day. Nothing to write home about, as they say. 😀

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    1. Mary Lou, I know how you feel. I used to HATE these drab days, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate them. Well, appreciate them when I see a few blue sky days every so often. I like how these drab days force me to be reflective– or go crazy. However, I’m more than ready to get on with Spring. Could you please arrange that for me? 😉

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  3. I love blue skies and sunshine ~> with an occasional rainy day (or, better yet, stormy night) tossed in for contrast.

    The perpetual gray of winter up north didn’t enhance my “happy.” So we moved.

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    1. nancy, as you know snow/ice are one kind of problem, but drab can suck the life out of you. So far I’m okay [translate that as happy] with the drab, but you never know when I might toss it all and head south.

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  4. What lovely photos! The second one especially is particularly pretty; I have an affinity for trees.

    We (NEO) are still under quite a bit of snowpack, and it is now covered in a hard, sturdy layer of crunchy ice. But we are getting Sunshine! And, if the weather people are to be believed, a Warming Trend, and then our snow will finally be gone…for a day or two…?

    Seeing some blue and green amongst the unceasing grey (and white!) does provide such a Lift; you’re right. Just when we think we cannot go on.

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    1. nance, our snow has melted for the moment, but it’s cold outside so I’m bundling up whenever I go out there. I hope that your Warming Trend is all that you need to keep you feeling good about [tolerating] the rest of winter. NEO winters can be tough on a person.

      I agree about the NEED for little splashes of color scattered in amongst the drab. Hence, my affection for those little boxwood bushes. During the rest of the year they blend into the woods, but come February they are the stars of the show.

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  5. Here in the Carolinas we have what the weather experts call a “Carolina wedge.” It’s when cold any damp air gets trapped against the mountains. When that happens we are dreamy for days. Sadly, we’ve had the wedgie since Friday evening. I’m ready for some sunshine!

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    1. Jill, I’ve never heard of the “Carolina wedge” but can understand how it could be a bother for you. I can go for 4 or 5 days with drab, but then I need a dose of sunshine. Hope you get yours soon. I’d send you some from here, but we don’t have any either…

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  6. Nice pics! If the rain would stop, I’m OK with gray days. Then when the sun comes back, I’m all, “I missed you!” I like the color of the light in Winter. And as a night owl, it certainly doesn’t bother me that there’s less of it than in the summer. I just wish winter would pick a temp and go with it — 63 yesterday, 42 today…. what??!?

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    1. Tara, that’s quite a weather temperature fluctuation you have going on there. We’re huddled around 40ºF with drab skies above. I didn’t know you were a night owl, but I can understand how the brightness of daylight hours is of less interest to you than me, a morning lark.

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  7. Gray rainy days can be fun if there aren’t too many in a row and I can sit by a fire with a good book while they’re happening. If I have to go out it’s not so fun. Where I am in CA we don’t have too many of those “muted tea-stained colors” (I love that phrase) and certainly no snow white. Maybe that’s why it is easier for me to have a smile on my face all the time? Lovely pictures Miss Ally. Thanks for sharing your world.

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    1. Janet, it’s funny to me but as I’ve gotten older I don’t dread these days like I used to, but many people who I know have left this area because of them. I bet that you’re onto something with your idea that living where you do helps you keep a smile on your face. It’s not that people are always grumpy here, but our weather extremes can try a person’s patience. Not everyone grooves on tea-stained colors.

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  8. We are well-known for gray skies here in Washington State, but because of all our trees, it is EVER GREEN. See what I did there? 😉 We’ve had a run of blue sky lately, although cold for us, and it’s amazing what a difference it makes to my mood. (and people’s friendliness when I’m out walking)

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    1. Margaret, nice word play! All hail the Queen of Clever. 👑

      I know what you mean about the blue sky/friendliness connection. On these drab days, people trudge silently by each other– but add some sunshine above and even when it’s cold, people are more inclined to say hello. It always surprises me.

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  9. In the beginning of winter I don’t mind the neutral-toned surroundings, but I grow tired of them as time goes on. This is the month that they really start to wear on me, and I am thrilled when we get a couple of those blue-sky days. This would be a good time for me to head to warmer, sunnier climes for awhile – if only getting out of here was less iffy with snow in the mountains that surround us.

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    1. Carol, if these drab days go on without a few blue-sky interruptions I get depressed. But the colors of mid-winter appeal to me enough that I usually am able to enjoy them.

      I can understand how tricky it’d be to plan winter travel when you’re in the mountains. With any luck we’ll all have an early Spring and these drab colors will be a memory, not the view out the window.

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  10. After a weekend of endless snow and freezing rain, the bright sunshine of today is a welcome relief. In winter however, that bright sunshine usually comes at a cost – cold temperatures.
    This year I’m having a love-hate relationship with winter. I’m trying to embrace it for what it is … some days are harder than others 😉

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    1. Joanne, our sunny days are cold, too. Then when the temps go up, the color outside drains away and we’re left with drab. I know what you mean about embracing winter for what it is. Some years that seem impossible, doesn’t it?

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  11. I’ve been enjoying our weather here lately. We have only had sporadic rain, and with nice, warm, spring temperatures. I love being able to get my busy little grandson out without a coat to run around and burn off some energy! I do not miss the cold and damp! But your pictures ate fantastic, as usual. You have a great eye😏

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    1. Beth, I thought of you as I wrote this. I knew you didn’t like our weather up here, BUT I also knew that you liked artsy photographs. This year I’m not too bummed by how things look outside– we’ve had enough blue-sky days to balance the drab. But some years… it’s been an effort to enjoy winter.

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    1. Carrie, snow and ice are bothersome but I know what to do about them [in a practical sense]. But the drab colors of mid-to-late winter are trickier. Some years they depress me, other years I find them muted and charming. No doubt serotonin has something to do with my reactions. Fortunately Spring will be here soon enough. 🌷

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  12. It really comes down to noticing details in winter and appreciating them. If I don’t pay attention to the patterns made by dead branches or animal tracks in snow or the way clouds make a darker shade of grey against the sky, it can all seem bland and depressing. Really like your second photo of the tree trunks.

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    1. Bespoke Traveler, you’re right about noticing the details. I do it as a matter of course like you do. I also like the color gray so I find drab days more interesting than many people. Thanks about the tree photo. They did all the work by looking great, I just snapped them! 😉

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  13. I struggle with the falling-down-ness of wintery snow & ice, but love it from a visual sense. The sculptural starkness of trees without their leaves I find more beautiful than when they’re fully dressed in their summer best. For me, the very best bit about spring is bulbs poking out through the ground … just heavenly.

    Lovely photos – I was transported straight there (and without the falling-down fear!)

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    1. deb, I don’t like that ice falling from above either. Around here when it warms up large sheets of ice will slice off the roof, landing in a huge crash on the bushes or sidewalk below. Startles me every time.

      I know what you mean about the trees, naked, looking so different. They appeal in a different, less showy, way than the rest of the year.

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    1. Betsy, I understand how the drab colors can chase people out of this state. There are years when I start thinking about moving to warmer, brighter states. However those little boxwoods do keep me hopeful… while they do their green thing. 💚

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      1. Wow! A green heart! That’s some skill, my friend! Ironically, I grew up thinking CA was the worst place ever. I never wanted to live here, but it’s where a job found me, and I fell in love. Not just with my husband but with the sunshine. 🙂 Apparently it’s where I’m meant to be. But I’m still very proud of my Ohio roots. When I travel outside of CA, I still tell people I’m from OH. I hate admitting I live here now! Haha.

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        1. Betsy, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of anyone else who favors being known as someone from Ohio over California. You’re a good Buckeye, a tribute to the buckeye-ness that this state is known for. Whatever that means.

          I’ve visited CA a bunch of times. I liked the sunshine, but the cost of living made me gasp for air. Ohio may be drab on some days, but we’re also cheap. [This may not be a ringing endorsement, now that I write it.]

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  14. As I have mentioned on countless occasions, I am a four-seasons kinda gal, as they all have their beauty to me. I love all these scenes. (Not just because I can tell it’s not too hot 😉 Heh.)

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  15. Boxwood is one of my favorites–I love their scent. Our winters are long and cold and dim here, for the most part too. I suffer from SAD. I purposely arranged my study so my desk is between two windows. Just barely enough natural light that way on cloudy days. I haven’t invested in one of those sun lamps, but I hear they work well.

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    1. Kate, I had one of the early versions of a sun lamp, and it was all glare imho. I’ve read reviews of the ones available now and I think they’re much better. Of course, some years we have sunny winters and others it’s one drab day after another one. Not that the boxwoods care at all, cheerful little greenies that they are.

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