Wintry Words

It's easy to write off winter as a boring and depressing season, especially in the garden. This stood out even more clearly to me as I read some quotes about the winter landscape and found that many of them were along the lines of this one from poet Anne Bradstreet: "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant." But winter doesn't have to be something we simply get through on our way to warmer weather. This season has many qualities that deserve to be appreciated in their own right. The sight of a bright red cardinal perching on a branch is far more stunning in the subdued browns of winter than it could ever be in the green of summertime. A light coat of frost lends an air of mystery to a cloudy morning and a shimmer of magic to a sunny afternoon. A few weeks ago I wrote about plants that shine in the winter. And then of course there's snow, when we have it. Sure, snow is cold and wet and it can be a pain to shovel and plow and drive in (as we in the snow removal business know well), but there's no denying its beauty. Below I have collected a handful of quotes about winter to remind us all of the unique charms of the season.

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." - Edith Sitwell

Photo by Maria Gulley

Photo by Maria Gulley

"Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness."
-Mary Oliver, "Snowy Night"

"The cold was our pride, the snow was our beauty. It fell and fell, lacing day and night together in a milky haze, making everything quieter as it fell, so that winter seemed to partake of religion in a way no other season did, hushed, solemn." - Patricia Hampl, "A Romantic Education"

"I've been a dweller on the plains,
have sighed when summer days were gone;
No more I'll sigh; for winter here
Seen at our office this week.
Hath gladsome gardens of his own."
- Dorothy Wordsworth, "Peaceful Our Valley"

"The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size." - Gertrude S. Wister

Photo by Maria Gulley

Photo by Maria Gulley

"Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going."
-Ogden Nash, "Winter Morning Poem"

"No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter." - Kenneth Grahame, "The Wind in the Willows"

I can certainly live with that last one! Winter may not be your favorite season, but take some time to notice its simple joys as you wait for spring to bring flowers and color back to the landscape.

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