winter

winds

High pressure meets low pressure, and we get loud howling winds. Fast-moving currents…not the ones that move miles aloft in the jet stream…I don’t think we’d hear those…but the noisy whistling winds that whip through our old favorite branches in the backyard.

Winter’s best sounds. One is just a whisper…the soft hiss of icy crystals falling on us from a dark, starless, snowy sky.

The other is a roar.

This is about the roar. A cold, noisy, winter night, and the roar. The howling winds that bend branches to the point of breaking. Those winds.

Me?

I’m inside.

I’m enclosed and surrounded by architecture, and busy with life. With heat, with electricity. There’s this and there’s that, and I’m hunkered down, as if I can ignore what’s going on out there, a hundred feet, two hundred feet above the rooftops. Still, there’s the hum that finds its way past the insulation of walls and windows, past the white noise of every appliance, inside, that cycles off and on.

It’s hardly exceptional. Barely a simple blink or nod, on an evening in the middle of winter.

But it’s not simple. It’s unexpectedly comforting.

Compelling?

It’s as if there’s something I’m missing this winter. The noise of the wind comes like a note to self, a reminder, of the icy cold that comes at the darkest, coldest, emptiest part of an eye-watering cold winter night…when my hands, my gloves, clutch a scarf and the top of my coat up close to my neck, and up over my mouth. It’s almost instinctual. We move to hold onto that little bit of warmth released every time we exhale. But the chill of the howling wind is shrill, strong, and indifferent. Try as I might, it takes my breath away.

That’s comforting? Yes, it is.

winter

wintering

There’s a drag that comes from lack of sunlight. That’s for real, and the lure of sleeping in on a winter morning is a real temptation.

I’m not a morning person. We know who we are. Years ago, I was in a carpool with a woman who was a morning person. I’m not sure she ever stopped talking for the entire ride into work. It worked out fine. She didn’t seem to mind that no one responded. Other than her and the driver, everyone else in the car was asleep.

This is how it works with me. I open my eyes, and even before the sleep fog clears, a whole litany of unwelcome thoughts line up for attention. Really…can’t I just get some coffee or OJ?

The thought that wakes us at 3 am feels like a heart-thumping immediate crisis. What if there’s a new killer COVID variant? At 8 am, it’s not quite as dramatic, more like a mental listing of every conceivable worry and bad outcome I might need to deal with that day, or anytime in the next six months, or the next six years.

So how does this relate to winter? In the winter, I wake and the sun’s shining through the shades, or it’s not, and either way it’s something to be happy about. Well, maybe not happy, but relieved. It’s something like the winter clause. I have good reason, loosely based on science or nature, to postpone, to hesitate, or to give in. To succumb, to hold back, put off, delay, and dispense, everything I don’t want to deal with, in effect and with great affection, on the pretext that it’s winter.

winter

january

January’s a fresh start. It’s also a cold, unembellished, minimalist reality.

Branches stretch tall in a cold winter sky. The way they’ve always done. Like some fabulously strong declaratory sentence.  

Sometimes those trees come down. I’ve seen them come down, and that’s a sad day. But when I look out, I see strength. The ancient strength of magnificent trees who throw all caution to the wind and stand between me and the heavens. As is their way.

snow, winter

aligned



It’s about lines. Sometimes it’s about the lines.

Absent-minded, I look outside, and my brain works to pair long lines, from trees, with vertical panes, from the window. I like it when they’re perfectly parallel. When I take pictures in the woods, I angle the shot so trees naturally slanted to the sun come out straight up and down in the picture. Flowers too. And within the compulsion of these mental confines falls the nuisance and distraction of utility lines. Struggling to aim up over the lines so they don’t pull your eye from the clouds, or the sun, or the trees on the horizon. Sometimes, though, lines are inescapable. Sometimes you can’t take out the lines and have the same picture.

© Etikser. All Rights Reserved.

All photos and images here are my own.
They may not be used elsewhere or reblogged.

Please visit my other blog, Clover & Ivy, https://cloverandivy.wordpress.com.
I post mostly nature photos there.

2021, winter

january (sounds)

January doesn’t exactly call to you. It’s easy to zone out in the numbness of these dull, dreary days. And sometimes the look of January is hardly enough to make me look up. But the sounds out there, they still work.

It’s a quiet mid-afternoon, and I try to convince myself it’s peaceful. But the mood is more like melancholy. Trees and what’s left of plants look like they’re scarcely holding on. It’s a still cold quiet void. Quiet and gray. My spirit too.

Yet, if you hang around the quiet long enough, there’s more than silence.

A subtle rippling, just audible. Water moving over stones and around bends. Gentle enough to make singular tones. Soothing, like listening from another room, while a friend strums the guitar. Slowly picking, one string at at time.

Then the chirps. Tiny chirps. Jays and towhees. Cardinals, for sure. Their winter tones are sweet and relaxed now. Comfortable, less commanding, less stressed, almost purposeless. Not the loud complicated spring show-off mating songs or the summer alarms and calls. It’s soft and gentle. As if they’re going about life, hunting the brush for a meal or snack, and mindlessly humming.

There’s been too much gray. Too much cloudy. I’d rather have snow. But we get comfort where we can. And January brings a quiet comfort. If nothing else, it brings quiet. Quiet intersecting lonely intersecting reassurance. A kind of hushed reassurance.

2021, morning, winter

light

The light shining bright in my eyes. On a morning that came with the bluest blue cloudless skies. It’s like the first cup of coffee you grab before the rest of the pot finishes brewing. It’s like a jump start. And the jolt makes you realize you’ve been sputtering. Gray skies have their place in winter, for sure. But day after day after day, the way it seemed, they leave the spirit almost spiritless. Like it’s tugging a load around. Like you’re always pushing yourself when you feel like leaving everything just where it is.

Well, in the bright light of a morning that came with the bluest blue cloudless skies, a fox came trotting across the yard. I’ve seen many foxes before, and they always seem to me like they have somewhere to go. But this guy wasn’t in a hurry, and I had time to take a close look. It was fluffier than others I’ve seen. Maybe they get a winter coat. And it definitely stopped in the middle of the yard to poke at the ground. As if it eyed some kind of breakfast hiding just under the surface of the hard frozen grass.

I think the fox is a beautiful animal, but up close and personal, they scare me just a little. From my window, though, it was a wonderful sight on the last Sunday of the year, on a cold morning that came with the bluest blue cloudless skies, and December’s unfiltered light shining bright. Shining in my eyes.

December 27, 2020

humor, sun, winter

december

There it is … the sun … at eye level. And I know it’s a race. A race I’ll lose.

It sits there aloof. Tenacious. Bigger and wider than ever, I think. Like, in your face, dear. It’s super moon size, bright white explosion size. Spanning the vertical lines of the tallest, strongest, finest, trees size. Bold, teeth clenched strong, you just try, size.

And before I can get out the door. It’s done it’s thing, and it’s saying, bye, bye. Try again next time, my dear. Not even a wink.