The still ecstasy

Moravian Beskids in winter by Marcin Szala CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Silesian – Moravian Beskids in winter by Marcin Szala
CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.  It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.”William Sharp

This isn’t the post I had scheduled for today, but I couldn’t let the gorgeous snow disappear without mentioning the record-setting blizzards that covered so much of the country last week. I was in Atlanta when the storms hit the DC area, and found myself stranded there as I rescheduled my flights twice before being able to get home.

Luckily, the frustration of being stuck was tempered by having more time with Mama, Grady, and others I love.  I had thought I was going to miss the flight disruptions because I flew in and out of Richmond, Virginia, instead of Washington DC.  I was wrong.  The Richmond airport was closed for a shorter time than the DC area airports, but long enough to change my plans.

Even Atlanta got a little bit of snow.  A VERY little bit, as it turned out, but still enough to close the schools early, in the time-honored deep south tradition of freaking out at enthusiastic celebration of the very mention of snow.  About which, more to come in a scheduled post that, oddly enough, was written just before the forecasts of blizzards to come.

Grady studies the first Georgia snow he can remember.

Grady studies the first Georgia snow he can remember.

Despite the inconvenience of schedule changes, I must admit I found last week exciting in some respects. I can’t remember when more of the country was getting huge amounts of snow at the same time.  When we arrived back in the DC area Monday night, we were delighted to find that our thoughtful next door neighbors had shoveled the snow from our parking spaces, walkways and front porch — a good thing, since the snow now is piled literally six feet high in some places.  My appreciation of kind friends and efficient road crews is at record highs to match the beautiful white drifts.

I got a big laugh when I opened our back door to put something in the recycling bin.

I got a big laugh when I opened our back door to put something in the recycling bin.

The past two days have been sunny and relatively warm, so the snows are melting fast.  I shoveled part of our deck today, and the creek behind our house is singing a lovely song as the water runs freely through the banks of white.  I have felt anxious and sad for those who were drastically affected by the weather, and mindful of how fortunate we were to have nothing more than schedule changes to endure.  But even knowing the havoc the weather can bring, the beauty of it still takes my breath away.

Did you avoid Snowmageddon 2016, or were you among those of us snuggled up indoors, sipping hot tea and sleeping in and generally making the best of being trapped inside?  Feel free to send us updates, photos and stories– and stay warm and cozy as we remind ourselves that spring REALLY WILL be here before we know it.

This post was first published seven years ago today. Re-reading it again for the first time since then, I smiled as I remembered my sister and her husband being stuck here with me over New Year’s weekend at the beginning of 2022. Just a few weeks from finishing grueling cancer treatment, George valiantly shoveled snow to free the Uber car that came to deliver them to the airport for their rescheduled flight, the Uber driver having gotten stuck in the deep drifts at the end of our street. And of course, who can forget the mass chaos of the Christmas weather at the end of this year? It seems 2022 was bookended by the sort of winter storms I wrote about in this post.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    Yes, this winter has been a doozy for snow and beautiful photos! I’ve sent you some by email.
    Yesterday, I stopped to pick up coffee for myself and a friend, as I was on my way to pick her up to drive her to the airport. When I walked back outside, a coffee cup in each hand, my first thought was … My Car is Missing.
    It was not missing, it was just completely hidden behind a snow bank!

    • I imagine there were a lot of missing cars that day! 😀 I will get to you emails eventually – I’m sure they are buried under a drifted bank of a totally different sort.

  2. Chris

    Hi Julia,

    Honestly, I can’t recall the conditions at the beginning of 2022, but realize that the year end storms were very disruptive. Every locale has its pros and cons, I imagine. Here in northwest Florida, we do get a few weeks of winter weather, but winter is nothing to fret about. Our “serious season” is hurricane season, which is six months out of the year. 😝 I do think the snow laden “winter scapes” are gorgeous! And, of course, the photo of Grady is adorable!

    I had lunch with a friend yesterday. He retired last year also. He was sharing with me information from a TED Talk, about the 4 phases of retirement. It was quite interesting, as well as humorous. As I retired 6 months ago, I decided to listen to the presentation. Enjoyed it. I believe Dr. Moynes hit the nail on the head. I’m still in phase one, and he described most of what I “feel” and am going through at the moment. Here’s the link, for your listening pleasure. 😊

    Hope all is good!

    • Hi Chris, I finally made the time to watch that video, and I enjoyed it. It brought home to me how very different– and yet the same in some ways– my own “retirement” is and has been. My life has never been quite like anyone else’s that I’ve ever known, mostly because of Matthew, but also (I’m starting to realize) in many less obvious ways too. Oddly, it makes the enforced solitude I’ve had to endure since my injury a bit easier to bear, as there was always a strong current of isolation in my life. But the solitude has enabled me to understand myself, and ironically, some people that I thought I knew well, much better. That’s the part of the video I identified with– the idea of stages. I’ve been through several tough ones but I keep hoping for that rewarding finale, and sometimes I fancy I see glimmers of it on the horizon…

  3. Julia,
    The positive aspect to extreme weather is the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones and good deeds to be done.
    Sadly, it seems that tragedies by natural or unnatural means are only the events that can temporarily bring division to a halt.

    • Alan, my neighborhood book group is reading “The Only Plane In the Sky” and it has reminded me– as you say, with some sadness– of how united we all became after the worst national crisis most of us could ever remember. In a much less horrific way, Covid did the same thing for many of us. But life goes on, and the everyday distractions get the better of us. If only we could find some way to create the opportunities outside of the crises! It’s like what relatives always say at funerals…”we should all get together some other time besides funerals.” But it’s hard, so hard, to do. Thanks for being here!

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