Friday, January 19, 2007

The Joys of Midwinter

Yes I know it really isn't midwinter, but here in the South we usually get our coldest temperatures around mid-January. I say usually because this year has been unseasonably warm, as it has in most of the country. Despite a rather wussy snow/ice event yesterday, it's still been easy on the heating bills this year. Which has led to some confusion among the flora. This afternoon I saw one of these outside my front door:

What a silly little crocus. So I proceded to check things out around the front and sure enough, the daffodils are poking up, too. Needless to say, the forsythia is already in bloom (nourished by the remains of Maude, The World's Most Affectionate Cat).

All very lovely and unexpected in mid-January. But winter is not over, and another snow/ice "event" is forecast for Sunday evening. And even it shocks the crocuses, it's good for the lilacs. They need at least one good covering of solid precipitation in the winter to bloom profusely in the Spring. On April 15, to be exact.

Three months from now we won't remember winter, but in the mean time:

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wallace Stevens


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