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?

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    As I look outside in the growing light, I’m hard-pressed to find a few patches of dirty snow in North-facing depressions here in Massachusetts. Seven years ago, I think there was a lot of snow. Now I’m wondering when I might wear the new boots I bought a few years ago. I wore them on a walk last weekend, and they kept the mud out just fine, but, being knee-high, they were intended for snow, snow, snow!

    • Susan, I’m surprised to learn that you don’t have snow “way up there” in Massachusetts right now. Have you had any big snowfalls yet this year? From our time in Ohio, I seem to remember that sometimes February could be the fiercest month, in terms of winter storms.

      • Julia, yesterday Facebook alerted me to a post from 5 years ago; I had been talking photos and video in a snowstorm on the coast of Maine. This year at the same retreat, we went walking in our jackets, without even hard or gloves!

        • Susan, isn’t that funny to think about? Also, isn’t it surprising how the memory doesn’t seem to make these connections spontaneously? I’m guessing, until you saw that post, you weren’t thinking, “Wow, back in 2015 there was snow on the ground here!” Or maybe you were. But in my case, digging back through accumulated memorabilia/junk, I’m often surprised to find that certain clearly-remembered events were happening at the same time period, when I was remembering them as totally separate circumstances. This sounds garbled but hopefully you know what I mean.

          • I do know what you mean!

  2. Dorothy

    Oh! That looks lovely. We’re due for another heatwave this coming weekend. However after good rainfall a bit over a week ago the grass is green again and lots of new shoots and leaves appearing. Tanks are full so hopefully will be able to keep mostly everything alive for the rest of this particularly vicious summer. Most fires under control now but the devastation left in their wake is horrific. Enjoy your warmer days outside.

    • Dorothy, thanks for bringing all of us some good news from down under. Yes, fire is maybe the most devastating, both physically and emotionally, of all natural disasters. I wish for all of you a chance to enjoy what is left of the summer, before the healing cool of autumn. I’m so happy you are here, and to know you are okay!<3

      • The other day at work, I was sending an email and trying to communicate that some quantity was less than three.
        The crazy email software decided that I meant to send a ❤️!
        I finally realized I could only write out the inequality by placing a space between < and 3.
        P.S. I'm super glad the Australian fires are better under control, too!

        • How funny that the emoticons (as we used to call them back in the day) have hijacked the original purpose of our punctuation marks! Yes, I too had to discover the space bar as a way of end-running around an auto-correct function that seeming prefers pictures over symbols.

          • It my co-workers and I were closer, I may have just sent the heart first and corrected it later, so we could both have a chuckle!

            • I wonder if they would have figured out that it was a case of “auto-correct strikes again?” That sort of thing typically goes straight over my head.

  3. mike c. B

    Some trees are more beautiful in winters such as these Crepe Myrtles. They are called trees of winter interest in the Northwest. Another one is Contorted filbert or Harry Lauder’s walking stick- Not sure where that came from. We have one of the latter at the Seattle plantation. This tree is the only tree priced over 100 dollars I have even boughten. But I got it at the closing season sale for half off. It is also called a specimen botanical and y ou don’t need more than one. I have not seen too many here. But I believe beauty berry is native to the lower Appalachias.

    • Mike, other than the crape myrtles, I have never heard of the trees you mention. I’ll have to look them up. I’ve learned so much about plants from you. I think you should stay active in a local garden club and spread your northeastern expertise to the south! Many of the same plants might flourish in both locations.

  4. mike c.

    Well I was a biology major. Not far from our place-within walking distance -is a very old Methodist church- Lebanon Methodist church. It is not surrounded by two busy highways and just off sixes road and 575. Behind the church is a very old cemetery with a few new gravesties in between. Many of the headstones are unreadable ,but some are. One notable one is Adolphus Hawkins civil war veteran CSA- Georgia 34th infantry volunteer from the area. Now in the back of the cemetery is a headstone to Aunt Millie. She was a freed slave who died in 1907 and whose birthdate is not known. She was a friend and local healer to many. I could not find out anything about her- but I am sure there are many stories there.
    Apparently this area was called Lebanon and it was a train stop on the northern spike line from Marietta to I believe- Chattanooga. Why was it called Lebanon?
    I did not make it to the garden club,but hopefully next one.

    • Mike, what fascinating observations! Who can count the untold stories in each and every cemetery and grave yard? Perhaps in the next life we will all know each other’s stories, unbound by human limitations. Meanwhile, we can imagine, and those among us who are gifted can write fiction that may have been true…

  5. mike c. B

    Beauty berry is actually a bush with small round almost hot pink little berries that just pop out in the winter on thier bare branches. I think they are natives here. In Seattle there is a “winter garden ” at the University of Washington arboretum. You would like it. There is also a winter Jasmine with yellow flowers that I think i have also seen here-also a leggy bush.

    • I’m sure I would like that arboretum. So many gardens, so little time!

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