hedge fence in winter Winter

I walked with my camera this afternoon, on this winter day. During the summer, the outdoor gardens of the botanical garden fill with people on a Sunday afternoon. Today, as I strolled through the children’s gardens, no one was there. I saw only one other set of footprints.

The snow simplifies the landscape. Muted colors contrast with the brilliant white. A hush lays heavy, the snow absorbs the sound. My footfalls crunch beneath me. Winter has a poetry all its own.

Winter Solitude

by Matsuo Bashosnowy spider web climber

Winter solitude–
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.


green lawn chair in snowWinter Trees

by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Winter Evening log lean-to with copper pan

by George Trakl

When snow falls against the window,
Long sounds the evening bell…
For so many has the table
Been prepared, the house set in order.

From their wandering, many
Come on dark paths to this gateway.
The tree of grace is flowering in gold
Out of the cool sap of the earth.

In stillness, wanderer, step in:
Grief has worn the threshold into stone.
But see: in pure light, glowing
There on the table: bread and wine.

little library in winterWoods In Winter

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.

O’er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.

Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river’s gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater’s iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!

But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.

ram sculpture in winter

Snow Day

Today there was a snow day for Aspen Public Schools. This is a rare event in Aspen! Aspen is known for cold and snow and skiing. Aspenites are the hardy among the hardiest when it comes to snow. I had a classmate explain to me the other night what it feels like to have snow fall on your face while skiing downhill. It sounded remarkably cold and unpleasant.

So for me, today was an utter gift from the universe. Every once in awhile it is just an amazing pleasure to have a day free with nothing to do but whatever one likes.

I remember when I was a child, I grew up in a small town on Lake Michigan. The raw cold coming off the lake was beautiful in its terribleness. The water would lap at the shore and create sculptures of layers of ice. I remember sitting in the house on snow days and they would be like some magical event. The cold outside was like a predator circling the house. The snowflakes would come down in a tumbling fragile beauty. The mounds of snow simplified the landscape. Dark trees, grey houses, white snow. Such a hush on the morning of a snow day. No buses. No cars. The window pane would be painted with frost on the outside, fogged on the inside. I would sit and just observe. Warm. Quiet. No rush to be anywhere. To remember books or homework.

I am thankful for snow days when I can be in the cozy house, tucked under blankets, drinking lapsang souchong, and reading my book.

April Snows bring….

December? January? February? If you are wondering why I would post a not particularly inspired photo from months ago, let me just tell you… I took this picture this morning. Yup. April 6, 2009. We got snow last night. Oooodlles and gazoodles of snow. All the local school districts are closed in what many are probably smiling and calling Mother Nature’s practical joke on my winter weary state.