January 7, 2015


This year, January insists it ain't kidding around: It Is Winter, and it has been Cold.  This morning dawned partly cloudy, temperature around zero, with a thin coating of bright ice on branches. The morning high of 10º was forecast to be the warmest part of the day; now, at 4 PM it is 5 below zero.

The year started beautifully: dawn on January 1st was glorious. The first days were normally wintry cold.

During the night of January 4th the wind began to roar, rattling my metal roof and awakening me with the noise. The morning sky was clear, but the gusts of wind swirled the snow across the landscape. The day was bitter cold.

I braved the outdoors that day for only a few minutes: I wanted to photograph the glazed surface of the snow, polished by the high winds.

At sunset that day, Sunday January 4th, a pink cloud hung above the rippled snow.

That night, when I walked into my east-facing bedroom, I saw a strong light coming through the windows: it was the full moon shining on the icy snow; my hilltop house was transformed into a ship on the high seas.

This morning glittered with ice on branches and ice crystals hanging in the air.

At midday, a cold front began to blow in, with snow and wind. It's going to be a bitter cold night; the forecast is for 20-25º below zero. It's certainly not unheard of around here, but it is cold. When I wake up tomorrow and look at the thermometer, it'll seem as though it barely has any mercury in it. But as you can see from the photos above, winter does have its beauty. And here's a poem from John Updike about this first month of the year. (In my house it's the wood stove that purrs, and sometimes the cat cozily purrs beneath it.)


The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.


  1. winter is my favourite season. these photographs are truly beautiful and the poem is lovely. thanks again for another wonderful post Altoon.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, maureen.

  3. Brrrr. January is quite being itself.It has it's own beauty. As we all should.

    1. It's being insistently itself, Lisa. This morning it was 31º below zero at my house, a record for me. At 11 AM it's 14 below.
      But it is beautiful, from inside a warm house.

  4. Delightful verse...the sun a spark hung between the dark and dark...
    Moonlight shot so good...winter's atmospherics on display!

  5. Stunning photos. If it's a spark here, imagine the Nordic countries!

  6. Thank you, JBS and Julie.
    Julie, I spent some time during winter in Norway years ago; there were only about 5 or 6 hours of daylight.

  7. Yes, and so much weaker. We are lucky that here, even in winter, the sun is strong enough to feel.