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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

young robin Wood’s Edge seems to be forever white and icy this year. Just when I thought I saw grass, more ice and snow arrived. The heather beneath the front window made a valiant attempt at blooming last week, but its purplish blossoms were encased in ice, and I fear they’ll not flower again.

Though white themselves, the snowdrops usually make an appearance in late February or early March. Alas, I don’t think they’ll be able to poke their pale heads through the thick layer of ice on top of the inches of snow this year. Still I hope to spot their delicate blooms.

Hundreds of blackbirds descend daily to my birdfeeders and quickly empty its contents. Their loud chirping and astounding numbers chase away the blue jays, cardinals, finch, and woodpeckers who add just a bit of color to the white and brown landscape.

This winter, eight deer regularly wander through the woods and into my yard. As they browse the underbrush, their fur shines a golden brown when the late afternoon sun slants through the tulip poplars.

Still, my world seems colorless as children with their bright jackets, mittens, boots, and hats sled briefly, then go inside on such wet, slippery, cold days. And so, I turn to John Steinbeck for a cheering quote.

“How can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?” – John Steinbeck

How right he is! The bitter cold of this winter will make me appreciate the warmth of late spring and summer. And I would hardly notice the small heather blooms, nodding snowdrops, the brilliant patch of red on a woodpecker, the beautiful brown of a deer’s fur, or the brilliant blue of a hooded jacket in the lush green of June.

And for a writer on this bitter day, the arrival of an acceptance letter is all the sweeter because many rejection letters have preceded it.

 

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As another ice storm approaches Wood’s Edge, I haul seed out by the bucketful to the wild birds perched on the branches of the trees and shrubs at the forest’s edge. Even with coat, hat, boots, and gloves, I shiver. I glance up at the heavy gray sky before filling the feeders. The chickadees, juncoes, wrens, cardinals, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, nuthatches, and tufted titmice (titmouses?) bravely swoop down and clothespin themselves to the perches of nearby feeders as I fumble with the first suet basket. Crows caw from the fence rail, several woodpeckers hop down the tree trunks, and a solitary hawk watches the goings-on with much interest.

 Meanwhile, Sandy the Black-mouthed Cur is bounding through the drifts, grabbing mouthfuls of snow, and rolling with abandon in the loose, fluffy snow in the corner of the yard. Joyful is the only word to describe her behavior. She looks at me, eyes bright, muzzle whitened by snow, tail wagging so hard the rear half of her body has joined its back & forth motion, and woofs. A playful woof that seems to say: The world is wonderful and isn’t it great to be alive!

Last winter seemed to be a long string of snowstorms. This winter appears to be much the same. I get lots of writing and drawing done it’s true, but I miss morning walks. Ice is not something I choose to tread upon when trying to manage an enthusiastic 60-pound dog. And tonight we expect more ice. 

But even as I cringe at the thought of another month of bad weather (and I suspect we shall get another month’s worth of frozen precipitation whether or not that famous Pennsylvania groundhog sees his shadow) — I think of crocuses and the sound of spring peepers. And since Sandy has only been with me since last June, I secretly wonder what she’ll think of frogs!

 And so, I share a quote from Anne Bradstreet: “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” Indeed!  And if we had no winter, Sandy the Black-mouthed Cur would surely miss the snow.

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It’s difficult to write a winter tale in the swelter of a Georgia summer, but that’s what I found myself doing last week.

I was working on a story set in a snow-covered forest with an approaching blizzard. The oscillating fan at the end of the RV’s sofa stood in nicely for the north wind. The rush of icy air that poured from the freezer when I opened it to grab a handful of cubes for my tea chilled my arm. The white curtains fluttering between the driver & passenger seats and the living area of the RV reminded me of a barn owl’s wing. (There’s an owl in the story). The sandy-colored dog sprawled at my feet took on deer-form. (And a deer in the tale, too). And the perspiration dripping from my brow became snowmelt.

The working title of the tale is “A Midwinter’s Eve,” and I’m hoping it will appear in a new anthology, Rush of Wings, from Soylent Publications (Jhada Rogue Addams, Publisher) that will feature skewed fairy tales, myths, and legends. But even if the story doesn’t make it into that collection, I want to write “A Midwinter’s Eve” well enough that some other editor will find it publishable.

Note in the first sentence I used the word difficult rather than impossible. Difficult tasks are challenging, but do-able. And with a little imagination and stick-to-it-ness, a story can be written, a picture drawn, or a problem overcome.

The weather at Wood’s Edge in rural Maryland is more fall-like, so my next draft of “A Midwinter’s Eve” will be perhaps an easier write. But easier or not, I will write! And I encourage each of you to face your challenges, whether large or small, because as Joshua J. Marine put it: “Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

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