Ah for a winter day
The pond is frozen over this morning. The ground has a soft coating of snow while the sky is a vibrant blue with a golden sunrise on the horizon. The vents from my furnace emit white clouds. It is our first really cold day of this newly found winter. I have started a small fire in the fireplace, not for warmth but for inspiration.
Sitting in front of the orange flames with a hot cup of coffee, I settle into my dreamy state of wonder. I asked a friend why we never seem to watch the flames on our gas fireplaces but find such interest and comfort in the live action of burning wood. My friend said he thought it was the constant forming of new shapes in flame and burning logs. With interest piqued, I sit and stare speechless in front of the ever-changing dancing light. A gas fireplace emits colorful flames out of pre-drilled holes always in the same predictable pattern. By contrast, when I crank up my little stove, it seems to capture my imagination.
A lot of my friends go south for the winter. Cold temperatures make them chilled and miserable. They want to be able to go out in shirtsleeves to play golf, walk beaches or just sit in the sun. Not me. I love the winter landscape with its bare tree trunks and deep vistas. The wind gives the dancing branches the same qualities I see in open campfires. New shapes are always forming as the air flowing around them pushes this way and that.
One can really see wildlife when summer leaves have blown away, taking with them the green curtain they had draped over the hillsides. Deer, squirrels and birds have lost their cover and are silhouetted against white snow and blue sky. It doesn’t take binoculars to spot God’s creatures foraging for food on such a winter day.
I wish there were some icicles hanging from the roof this morning. They are winter’s way of reminding me of the sparkle and beauty in all things, even melting snow as it re-freezes before yet another melt.
Maybe if I had an occupation that forced me to work outside no matter the weather, I would not be so thrilled about winter. I watched yesterday as a carpenter worked on the outside of my cabin in the intermittent soft snow showers. He was so picturesque, but I am sure he was very cold and, at times, even a bit wet. When I asked if he wanted to stop working, or at least come inside to warm himself, he commented that conditions were just fine when dressed for the occasion. He said he had worked in worse. Perhaps he was referring to the record-breaking heat and humidity that plagued them last summer as they repaired my barn.
A hike in a frozen world is an adventure to a new place. Have you ever noticed how the angle of the evening light changes as our earth revolves around the sun? Listen for the rhythmic sound of a woodpecker tapping on a dead tree; it carries a great distance on a cold gray day. And there is the bright planet Venus low in the western sky on a crisp winter night. I love the warm house after a chilly dash from the car or a lengthy errand outside. These months, I like to bundle up and tromp out in the snow or just go to bed with a pile of blankets around me.
No, I don’t think you will find me forwarding my mail south this winter. The changing seasons have a real pull on me, and I don’t want to leave Indiana and miss out on the show.