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As beautiful as a winter day

It’s prize week on the blog! We’re talking about All Things Wintery. Leave a comment all week for a chance to win some wintery fun! And I’ll let you know what that is when I figure it out!

Most of us who live in the snow belt spend a lot of time complaining about winter:  about winter roads, which are slippery and treacherous (although it gets better after the first snow when everybody gets used to what it’s like all over again), about shoveling the stuff, which can be invigorating when it’s light and fluffy and induce heart attacks when it’s heavy and wet, and how dirty it gets when it’s cold — which is to say it’s January or February — but it hasn’t snowed for a few days, and so there are piles of dingy grey snow by the sides of all the roads.

But having grown up in Hawaii — and we still have the old movies my father took of us frolicking in patches of snow when we were on vacation in the California mountains — I still love winter, even when I’m complaining about it.

I love the first serious snow of the year, when I can stand at the window and watch the snow beating down against us, whitening the grass and roads and hushing the sounds so that the world is quiet, enveloped in its winter white.  I love the leafless trees, with their shapes stark against the sky and all the nests that the busy birds built last year fully visible, tucked into the forks and branches of the trees.  Just as well:  I figured out a few years ago that we have leaves on the trees for only six months of the year.  So really, although we all think of trees as having leaves, the leafless stage is just as “normal.”  I even love the crystalline beauty following an ice storm, when all the branches are encased in glittering ice, and the loveliness takes your breath away.  Quite often also, as someone has pointed out, you’re likely to lose your heating and cooking potential since neither trees nor bushes are structurally engineered to support the weight of ice, and thus tend to collapse on wires carrying electricity or phone service or just about anything else.  But it is pretty to look at.

I like Christmas trees and roaring fires in the fireplace, and the crispness of cold, and the luxury of walking inside into the warmth.  I like gloves and coats (once I resign myself to having to wear them whenever I go outside) and I even like hats, I guess, although I always feel like a decorated walnut when wearing one.  But it is comfortable to have a warm head.  I like boots and tramping across an unbroken stretch of snow — even if I feel guilty afterwards, because it’s so much nicer to look at unbroken snow.  I like the luscious smell of winter baking, and the taste of hot apple cider, just past the stage where it burns your tongue, and hot enough still to warm you all the way down.

And oh boy, after four long months of winter, do I LOVE spring!  How many votes for winter out there?  How many for spring?

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5 Responses

  1. I love a cold night outside with a blazing fire inside…the kind of fire where you back up to it to warm your bum…or is my family the only ones who did that?

    And spring is wonderful..the rebirth after death. Those first peeks of green on the trees…the flowers pushing through the late snow (that always seems to come).

    I think Springs had a fresh smell…like out with the old and in with the new.

  2. I do enjoy living where there are four seasons, but sometimes the cold makes me long for warmer temps.

  3. oh, be still my heart. 🙂 you described everything I WANT to experience in a winter but never have.

  4. Spring!! I hate winter weather, it’s always so dreary and windy..

  5. Hmm — looks like it’s running about 2 votes for winter to 1 for spring. Cyndi straddles the line, and so, I admit, do I. Yes, I’ve been backing up to one heat source or another ever since I left Hawaii! Always makes me think of Jo March in Little Women who burned the back of her dresses — I’ve scorched a sweater that way, only if I remember right, that was leaning against the stove for warmth right here in Michigan.

    In England we had a wonderful stove called an Aga. An Aga is permanently on, with two big hot plates on top with insulated covers: one is at simmering heat and one at boiling — you regulate the temperature you choose to cook at by where you put your pot on the plate. (It also was our water heater for the house.) They’re very traditional in big country houses. We had a small suburban house but once I saw an Aga in action I wanted one, so we got it when we redid our kitchen. Wouldn’t do here, as they’re either on full blast or off entirely, and you do want to cook in the summer when you might not want the Aga pumping out considerable ambient heat. There it’s temperate enough so that there were only a few days when summer heat made the kitchen uncomfortable. It was big and cozy and bright enamel red and I loved it. Spent many an hour leaning back up against that one. Great place to read.

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