November 26, 2012

The First Wintry Day

I awoke yesterday to a pink sky and white ground, and howling wind. November is usually the grayest month of the year here in northern Vermont, but this year it had been sunny and mild until yesterday.

The snow had fallen, but the sun also shone, brightening the dried grasses and the deep carmine of red osier dogwood.

Snow, heaped on stone walls, made a greater drama of boulders.

Snow, like a dollop of whipped cream, made dried hydrangeas festive.

I did not cut back my perennial border, so a benefit of laziness: seeing serried ranks of crisp golden leaves against the white backdrop.

More delicate are small weeds making round-topped thin lines, dark weeds, lighter shadows. I love the change of seasons and love winter's light, when snow covered ground bounces brightness into the house. I like being nestled in the warm indoors, thinking inwardly as the garden rests. Henry David Thoreau, in his journal entry of December 11, 1855, speaks of winter:
The winter, with its snow and ice, is not an evil to be corrected. It is as it was designed and made to be, for the artist has had leisure to add beauty to use. ....To perceive freshly, with fresh senses, is to be inspired. Great winter itself looked like a precious gem, reflecting rainbow colors from one angle. 

And from the Japanese 17th century poet Basho, a light touch on the season, in his poem "A Ball of Snow":
you make the fire
and I'll show you something wonderful:
a big ball of snow!


  1. This is a beautiful entry. It makes me regret not living in a place where it snows.

    1. Snow is a wonderful thing, Connie; I missed it when I lived in California for a couple of years. There can be too much of it though...

  2. This is a lovely post. It is amazing to me that as much as I long for spring after a few months of winter I also long for snow after a few months of autumn. I guess if you grow up in the Northeast you are as much a part of the comings and goings of the seasons as the vegetation, longing for the inward pull of winter when there is not the constant pull of a beautiful warm day to lure you into the pleasures of the warm weather.

  3. PS. I just noticed your wonderful arrangement of vegetables on your top banner. Very nice.

    1. Thank you for the comments, Nancy. I too love the changing of the seasons; it seems that just as we are tiring of one, along comes another to please us.

  4. What a treat! Unusually cold here, but no snow: poor plants! We are all hungry for snow after last' Year's Climate Change Special of no winter and then extreme heat and drought.