Midwinter Charms

My weekly column:

We are in the depths of a winter deep freeze, and I don’t know about you, but I have barely stuck my nose outside for several days. Cabin fever has not yet struck as my confinement is caused only by my reluctance to face the cold, and not an outside force.

I am keeping myself warm by turning up the heat (in a house which is becoming draftier as the days go on); drinking hot tea; and on occasion donning the heating pad. Wearing a heating pad may not be all that trendy right now, but mine is pink and covered in flowers, so it goes nicely with my jeans and turtleneck and very warm slippers I got for Christmas.

I am not complaining, or not complaining all that much, though I do see the benefit of escaping to a warmer clime, something I have never voiced before. Proudly Canadian, I have always thought that vacating our country for the one next door during the cold months is a bit unpatriotic—but I am quickly changing my tune.

Generally I like winter—but not a winter like last year, and not one where I am dreaming of hitting the freezing mark so I can wear just one pair of socks. So, I thought I would find a few voices to help me (and you) through the worst of this season. Perhaps these people romanticize winter, but I need a hit of positivism to get me through the next few weeks. And who knows, by the time you read this, it might be a balmy 0 centigrade or so.

I am supposed to be reading “Journey to the Heart” by Melody Beattie on a daily basis, as her insights are neatly gathered under the headings of January 1, 2, 3, etc. Today would be January 10th but it is under the 13th that I find some words to console me ever so slightly. She tells us to:

“Cherish the winter.
Cherish it quietness,
the time of going within to rest and heal.
Cherish this time of preparation
that must come before new life.
Cherish the hope that lies beneath the snow.”

Beattie believes that we should “honour winter’s lesson” and says that the sun will shine again, the snow will melt, and we will return to “the activity of life.” She thinks that winter is an important season in our lives and that it is a time of “going within” and “rest”.
Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland fame agrees with Beattie’s analysis. Though he came before her, he too thinks that winter is a time of rest, and paints a serene picture in his quote about the season of cold. He said: “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Carroll’s observation is lyrical so I will forgive him for treating winter as if it is an old friend.

I am more in the mood for John Steinbeck’s rather practical if less romantic analysis of winter. He asks, somewhat impishly (Steinbeck impish?—pray tell my mind is wavering): “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” Here, here, I say. We must suffer a bit in order to enjoy (alas, I wish it were not so).

But my favourite quote of all comes from a poet after my own heart. Dame Edith Sitwell sums up winter and all its charms in these words:

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is time for home.”

For it is in winter that home is our refuge—our friendly place—the place we do not mind being. So wrap yourselves in scarves, pile on the sweaters and socks, and savour the time that winter gives us to pause—if just for a moment.

Published in: on January 13, 2015 at 2:46 am  Comments (33)  
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Thrown into winter
Windy, snowy, freezing cold
Shiver me timbers

Published in: on November 20, 2014 at 8:29 pm  Comments (21)  
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Hide and Seek

I caught a whiff of spring yesterday ~
Efforts to capture its fleeting essence
Were for naught.
Freshness escorted by bird ballads
replaced by cold rain and squally winds.

Winds threaten spring again today ~
We are enrobed by a diaphanous cape of fog.
Spring plays hide and seek
But I will keep looking ~
even if I have to count to one thousand and sixty-two.

Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm  Comments (13)  
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Frozen Souls


Sadness permeates

Frozen winter souls

A warm thaw of hope

Melts the core ~

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm  Comments (25)  
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Frightening Cold


Icicles frozen

Mid-drip; mid-winter stretches

Hostile tentacles.

Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm  Comments (33)  
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Cold by any other name is Cold!


Icycles (Photo credit: patricia_schaffer)

Outrageously cold

Bloody freaking freezing cold

A cold of many faces

Published in: on January 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm  Comments (34)  
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Sometime You Just Have to Have Faith

English: A snow covered path at Hawkbatch, Wyr...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Snow crisp underfoot

Leaves no tracks; no evidence

That Santa was here

Published in: on December 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm  Comments (12)  
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Simple Pleasures

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chill in my bones

Is warmed by hot chocolate

Whipped cream on my nose

Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm  Comments (27)  
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Cold Hill

Cold Hill (Photo credit: Fred Jackson)

Bracing cold winds blow

Sun hides, peeking out shyly

Embrace November

Published in: on November 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm  Comments (26)  
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Winter Kept at Bay ~ For Now


November (Photo credit: Cape Cod Cyclist)

Mid-November chill

Sunshine melts iced frost caked world

Winter ransom paid

Published in: on November 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm  Comments (19)  
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