A short run: Winter

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The last remnants of snow melt from the sun-bathed Blue Mountains as a lone jogger crests a hill along the jogging path surrounding Bennington Lake. Afternoon temperatures in Walla Walla continually topped 50 degrees in January and February as short winter runs of cold temperatures repeatedly came to warm and abrupt endings.

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Coats, cold weather and moments in the sun.

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Sun glasses and slick streets.

As we head into the last full month of winter, it’s a good time to look back at what we’ll soon be missing.

OK, so maybe some of us WON’T miss freezing temperatures, freezing fog, ice and way-too-long nights.

But while spring brings flowers and fall creates bright autumn leaves, summer only seems to produce heat waves, which don’t often make striking images.

Which brings us to January and the proverbial depths of winter. And while cold, the month did result in a fair share of beautiful scenes.

But one item the month didn’t bring was loads of snow (at least at the lower elevations).

The result were some striking contrasts between green fields of sprouting winter wheat backed by foothills still shrouded in white. Days of below-zero cold also resulted in ordinary objects being clothed in spiky suits of hoarfrost.

But gray days and dark nights will, all too soon, be giving way to the return of spring, which will officially start on March 20 this year. And with that, will hot weather be far behind?

Some fun facts about January:

  • It is one of seven months with a length of 31 days.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.
  • January’s gem is garnet, which represents constancy.
  • On the first Monday of January, Handsel Monday is celebrated in Scotland and northern England
  • Jan. 8 is Elvis Presley’s birthday.
  • Utah became the 45th state on Jan. 4, 1896, and New Mexico became the 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912.
  • “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine was published on Jan. 10, 1776.
  • January is National Thank You Month, National Blood Donor Month, National Braille Literacy Month, National Hobby Month, National Soup Month and National Staying Healthy Month.
  • Michelle Obama, Muhammad Ali, Betty White and Jim Carrey all celebrate their birthdays on Jan. 17.
  • Jan. 26 is Republic Day in India, the day on which the Constitution of India came into force in 1950.

(Sources: Wikipedia and www.famousbirthdays.com)

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