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Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Wicked Winter

'Every mile is two in winter' ( George Herbert)

Originally uploaded by Weissryk.
This winter shot taken by Weissryk from flickr, shows the beauty of winter in my part of the world ...

In winter you need more clothes - which involves more laundry and more time needed to get dressed and undressed. More heating is needed - which requires more money and time and if like us you have a fire, more effort. As there is less daylight, there is more urgency to get things done while it is still daylight. Mornings are cold and uninviting, so it is a struggle to get out of bed. If there's been a frost overnight, again there is time and effort required to scrape ice off the windscreen.

Overall winter can be a bit of a slog.

However, despite all that, I still like winter for its chance to scurry away and semi-hibernate - scale down, pull the curtains, eat hot food like soup, macaroni cheese, toast; to listen to the rain on the roof, wear hats and gloves and scarves and go for fighting-fresh, bitter, brisk walks.

The landscape is more dramatic too, with the deciduous trees bare and dark against a grey sky, the groundcover thin; mud and earth showing through scarce strands of grass. Snow-covered mountains, orange willows, icy blue lakes and heavy seas white with the froth of winter storms.

I have a dear friend who writes beautiful descriptive letters (yes some of us still write letters) extolling virtues of each season. She is a gardener by inclination and occupation and so she knows the seasons off by heart and hand. Her celebration of each season over the years has heightened the changes for me too. She talks of winter being a time of restoration - when nature retrenches and retracts and slowly, quietly builds up its sap and energy for the sudden explosion of growth in spring.

Winter can be a chance then for us to do the same. To slow down and reflect and restore our energies. (Store our sap!) I do try, but more often get caught up in doing things. Sometimes I can feel busier in winter than summer. I can get caught out by the illusion that there is nothing better to do with my time and so take on extra commitments, ending up far too busy to enjoy the long, dark evenings. (Although as I get older, I notice I am getting wiser to this.)

In a way I envy animals who hibernate. What a delicious thing, to sleep the winter away! Yet at the same time I'd hate to miss out the particular thrills winter gives us - red berries against a stone wall; small flowers that keep on blooming through the cold. The glee of waking up to snow - or standing in the middle of its cold rush as flakes swirl under moonlight, or a streetlight, in a crazy, hypnotic dance. The fresh-air smell of frost on a winter's morning; iced-over puddles smashed into a spider-web pattern by the heel of a child. Fireside moments.

Once upon a time before my wider girth became an issue - or more than likely the result of such excesses - ABM and I would roast and salt some peanuts, mull some red wine, break open a bar of chocolate and settle down to a cosy winter's night indoors watching videos. Ah! Bliss!

And that's given me a most wicked idea for a treat for us both this weekend. After all - winter seems to go hand-in-hand with wicked - well, if nothing else, at least it's alliterative.


Endment said...

You paint such a wonderful love/hate relationship with winter. At the moment I delight in reading your reports and then going outside to early summer - then I remember the tables will be switched in only a few months :)
What wonderful word pictures you paint -

Becky said...

Same here, endment.

Love the chocolate bar, chief. Enjoy.


Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Great descriptions. I think winter lets us slow down enough that we can write. :-)

Wow... Wow.


Meepers said...

Oh! I feel so bad for complaining about our pretty mild winter weather in Santa Barbara - stay warm! Great descriptions - makes me want a cuppa tea and a biscuit, STAT!

wendylou who? said...

D,ear Chief,

Today was 99 degrees in Rocky mountain I loved hearing your tales of winter...cooled me right down...oh wait...maybe that the Air Conditioning....oh any rate, I loved the part about more clothes...and more effort...I feel the Exact same way...Summertime is effortless in that little clothes as possible....and BEARABLE on a forty something body...

I'm leaving for Australia in 3 mean no bikini for me???..we're going to Sydney, Brisbane and the barrier reef..the whitsunday islands...Please say it wont be ICY cold...please!
take care,

Belle said...

Hi Chief B,

You have my permission on the cosy fireside evening excesses!

I'll be thinking of you as I sweat and my face turns beet red as I take my morning stroll.

Love the changing seasons because of the, well.......changes they bring. That way it never gets boring.

Lynn said...

Mmmmm ... you almost make me long for winter. ALMOST.

chiefbiscuit said...

Endment - Thank you, thank you, thank you - enjoy your summer :)

becky - Yep I will enjoy that chocolate bar ... can't wait for this weekend now!!!

Cyn - I believe you're right ... :)

meepers - have a cuppa and a biscuit on me!

ww - You will be fine in Oz - no worries mate! Brisbane's hot - or very warm anyway - Sydney may be a bit cooler ... Have fun!! (Why not pop over the Tasman Sea and pay us a visit?)

belle - Yeah change is good - variety is the spice of life as they say. Enjoy your hot'n'sweaty walks!

lynn - No you don't - not even almost ... :)

Catherine said...

But you missed the snow that we got up here, didn't you? (I guess you get your share, most winters)

Clare said...

It is so weird reading this when it has actually been hot for a change (not now of course - too good to last) but like Lynn this post almost made me long for winter again.

chiefbiscuit said...

catherine - yes we missed the snow and this time I didn't miss it (if you get my drift ) oh dear intended and unintended puns galore!!! :)

clare - i'm glad - i think?

a wandering woman writes said...

Lovely photo :) so different to Belgium, much missed by me.

chiefbiscuit said...

ww - hope you aren't too homesick ... Enjoy and make the most of Europe while you're there though won't you?


'how this all harbours light'