Winter lives

Winter trees 2010

A winter scene in our neighborhood, 2010

The “dead” of winter —
Or so they say.
But winter lives
In her own way.
She leaves her tracks,
She shows us signs:
Not brilliant blooms,
But webs of lines.
Douglas Florian

As I write this, there is snow on the ground outside and I have my space heater running near my feet.  Next week, the weather forecast calls for unseasonably warm temperatures.  I’ll be happy to go outdoors and not get chilled instantly.  But I have to admit, it’s pretty cozy on snowy days.

What is the weather like where you are?  How does winter live in your neighborhood? Or do you live in a part of the world where January is summertime?


  1. Julia, I guess this was the right day for this post. Many seem to have freezing rain and wintry mix. We had some freezing rain, but it formed soft ice on the car. I think we are more fortunate than others. I learned that winter lives when the tree shared poisin ivy with me a couple of week ago. May God bless you this day and the travel of your Candler son. Monte

    • Thanks, Monte. When I scheduled this post a few days ago, I had no idea it would come on a day like today. I also didn’t know one could get poison ivy in the winter! We have lots of it here and it terrifies me after I had a major outbreak of it early in 2005. It was miserable. I’ll be on the lookout for it now!

  2. I miss the snow of winter. The big flakes that fall softly and make the world silent for a time. I miss waking up and finding the trees have turned all white during the night. Winter is so drab without snow.

    • And here I was thinking how much more snow I’ve seen since living in Virginia! I guess it can’t compare to Colorado and Montana. I like it as long as I don’t have to get out in it, and as long as it melts quickly once it gets dirty and ugly.

  3. Sheila

    Julia, I so hope today will be a better day and in turn, a good week for Jeff and you. I trust you will be careful if you have to be out and about in this icy weather. It is a cold,windy morning in Garden City, along the coast. It always intrigues me the very breezes that can be so welcome in summer to relieve the summer heat can drop the winter temps and chill you so deeply! A hot cup of coffee is in order……Sheila

    • Sheila, hot coffee sounds WONDERFUL right now. We are having “winter mix” and most things are on delayed schedule today. I’ll have to be out later today, but for now I’m staying put! Sounds like a lot of the east coast is being hit with it. After the mild weather up until now, I guess I can’t complain!

  4. Our winters are mild. We get snow very seldom but we enjoy it when it comes. Here in the lowcountry of South Carolina my camelias are blooming and because of the unseasonably warm weather, the azaleas are showing color. The promise of new life is all around us. So many times I forget to praise the Lord for His Gifts. Enjoy today.

    • Marjorie, thanks for telling me about your camelias and azaleas – I could immediately picture them and it made me smile. We have both and they are among my favorite shrubs. When we moved back here from CA I was very homesick for the west coast, but the first spring blooming of those glorious azaleas everywhere made me glad to be back in the South! Definitely we all should give thanks to the great Creator for such blessings!

  5. beautiful photo and poem,

    • Thank you Francina, I’m so happy you like it!

  6. Mike Bertoglio

    Yesterday I visited Kubota Japanese garden not far from where we live. The bill board said the garden was in a “dream cycle,” and half asleep for the winter. For the last two weeks during the inversion weater anomaly the garden was in a dense fog.However, the gold and yellow Witch hazels are in bloom-one was full bloom – and their antiseptic scent is an enigma-though not unpleasant.Beautiful small trees. A solitary Great blue heron stalked out the lower pond, hidng behind a Japanese black pine. The sweet box “sarcacocca” are also blooming and their scent is almost over powering. They have an awesome new stone garden which is almost finished with huge concrete slabs that are reminiscent of the opening scene of “2001 a Space Odyssey” . I hiked up to the top overview to view the waterfall at the top. There were only two other people in the garden so I had it almost to myself. Ihave volunteered here several times. One of my favorite Seattle gardens. I may become a docent there sometime in the near future. They have monthly first Saturday tours.Winter is a great time to admire the intricate shapes of the many Japanese maples there. Acer rubrum.

    • Hi Mike, I had to look up “sarcacocca” since I was unfamiliar with that one – it reminds me of our ligustrum which also have very strong scent (I like it but many don’t) although ours bloom in the summer. I just love seeing the blue heron – they are fairly abundant around here also. To my knowledge I’ve never seen a witch hazel in bloom. The acer rubrum is stunning and I’ve always wanted to have one. Japanese gardens are wonderful! Thanks for giving us a mini-visit to Kubota.

  7. Eleni

    I live in a part of the country where January is summertime–almost. In some places of the world, two seasons has become the norm, rather than four. We had four seasons where I grew up and I miss that. Even if living through one season was sometimes tough, there was always the anticipation of the transition from one to another. Perhaps that is what I miss most: the transitions. Those could range from simply putting away the heavy sweaters and dressing in lighter shirts to smelling the blossoming honeysuckle or the budding apricot tree.
    Enjoy the cold while you have it, Julia.

    • Thanks Eleni, it is always delightful to hear from you. I agree, the seasons and rituals associated with them are special. It seems that I am always at least a little eager for each season to arrive, though nothing is quite as wonderful as the first touch of fall or spring. I can understand why you miss home. I have a great many photos of Greece and I feel certain that some of them will end up on this blog! I think I already used one of a bell tower in Mykonos. Thanks for staying in touch and for visiting with us here. We miss you!

  8. What an wonderful verse. Our weather is a rollercoaster, seems no two days are alike. Weekend was seasonal -8 C, today -13 C, tomorrow -22 C and Fridays forcast +1……I just go with it. 🙂

    • That’s the best way to look at it, I think. One thing I love about having endless books and craft supplies around that I never get around to, is that I never need to worry about running out of things to do in cold weather! But it’s also fun to get out and walk, if the wind chill isn’t too bad. Your temperatures make our coldest days seem mild in comparison!

      • I guess it’s what you are use too. I follow, she’s scandinavian but working in the arctic……wonder wonder photo’s, out door fun, kitties, baking and cold cold weather. -40 C today..yikes!

        • Wow, what a great blog, thanks for the link! Loved the bit about the ravens. I’ve always found them fascinating but I had no idea they could survive in such cold climates. I would love to see the arctic but I’m a little scared to go – not that I’ve ever had the chance!

          • Welcome! She’s so outdoorsy….we can just live vicariously thru her…HA! I can’t say I’d plan a holiday there…we always want a break in Winter and use vacations to warm up 🙂

  9. How does Winter live in North Georgia? The trees are, in some ways, more revealing in the Winter. The Spring and Summer flourish of foliage had given way to a brief blaze of color, and the bare branches look “dead” to some people. If one looks closely, tiny buds can be seen on Oaks, larger ones on Hickories, and “large, pea-sized” ones on Poplars. But the most amazing aspect of the bare branches is that they have the effect of a “drawn curtain”. Beyond the skeleton of deciduous trees, the deep blue-green of the Eastern Hemlocks point skyward. Not as much shaped like Christmas trees, and of a lighter green color are the White Pines, some reaching a height of nearly 100 feet. And beyond the conifers? The majesty of the Blue Ridge mountains draw their distinctive line across the horizon. From Georgia, all the way up through the Shenandoah, this most beautiful chain of the Appalachians undulates. How does Winter live in North Georgia? Magnificently !

    • Eric, thanks for this lovely description! It makes me feel almost as if I have been there. North Georgia is so beautiful.

  10. MaryAnn

    Julia, Since I was born & raised AND still live in CA; I have not had the “joy” of dealing w/ snow days & the like. My husband was born in NC, so he teases me about loving to go to the snow! The way winter lives in Northern CA this year is COLD!!! We have had 20’s on many nights, so several plants have frozen.
    My joy is the crisp air, the magnificent sunsets, the rain, the rainbows! Last week, in my yard, I saw 3 sightings of robin redbreast! Harbinger of Spring already?

    • Wow, in the 20’s? That’s pretty rare; I think it only got that cold once while we lived there. I guess the Robins are getting their nests built. Some people consider them pests, but I love watching them. Hope you have lots of lovely sunsets and rainbows to enjoy this year. Thanks for being here!

  11. Kathy Yaccino

    Well, I don’t have to tell you what January in San Antonio is like…..I am not a fan of the cold, so I bask in this climate. However, I’ve been hit with “cedar fever” for the first time this year, so even Texas roses have a thorn!

    • “Cedar Fever” was the only time I can ever recall having any sort of allergy problems. It hit me after we had lived there almost a year and it was AWFUL. It was one reason why I wasn’t eager to move back, despite having wanted so badly to stay there. Hope it gets better!


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