The White Page on Which We Write Our Hearts

January 6, 2014

“Winter is . . . the white page on which we write our hearts.”
Adam Gopnik, Winter: Five Windows on the Season









Eisblumen:  German for hoarfrost ice flowers

“On a lonely winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence.”
— John Keats

Adam Gopnik sees the poetry in winter.  His book, Winter: Five Windows on the Season, explores “why winter, a season long seen as a sign of nature’s withdrawal from grace, has become for us a time of human warmth.”  He talks about the sublime side of winter, how it inspires fear, awe and mystery while remaining potentially lethal.  Gopnik says that a love of winter is a modern sensibility, evolving only after the use of cheap and abundant coal and central heating.

“Winter’s persona changes with our perception of safety from it — the glass of the window . . . is the lens through which modern winter is always seen.  The romance of winter is possible only when we have a warm, secure indoors to retreat to, and winter becomes a season to look at as much as one to live through.”

10 Responses to “The White Page on Which We Write Our Hearts”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    Oh, isn’t that the truth – that our perception of safety allows the romantic view. Ask me about my memories of blizzards, and they always involve fireplaces, hot chocolate, books, and the beautiful snow coming down outside the window.

    Just this morning I was thinking, “The holidays are over. The cash flow has slowed to a trickle and stopped. I really need to get back to work.” And it’s 29 degrees, with a forecast high of 40. Will I? Won’t I?

    Perhaps I should, just for a dose of unmediated reality!

    • Rosemary Says:

      Our winters in the Pacific NW are much milder than the stone cold winters of my childhood in Minnesota. But now temps in the 30s and 40s seem too cold. The warmth of the hearth is even more appealing.

  2. Chris Says:

    Yes, I know all those folks back in the midwest and northeast would definitely see the appeal of a warm hearth right now, and possibly see no romance at all with winter, warm hearth or not! I’m leaving tomorrow for Michigan and am dreading it…I won’t be complaining about how cold the 30’s and 40’s are after this trip, I’m sure! 🙂
    Lovely photos!

  3. Elisa Says:

    These images are different!! I particularly crave to see closer and to touch the items in the second image!! I wonder, are you using different camera equipment?!

    • Rosemary Says:

      Sharp eye to notice any difference. My camera is the same, but I’ve encountered a glitch uploading to my laptop, where my photo editing program is Picasa. So the past few times I’ve uploaded to my iPad, and my photo editing app is Photoshop Express. So yes, the edited photons probably do look at bit different.

  4. Frost makes such pretty pictures! I love that you take pictures all seasons of the year, Rosemary

  5. Karin Says:

    In Germany, around Stuttgart, it feels like spring. The birds are singing, yesterday even a blackbird!, daisies are blooming, rain once in a while and no snow in sight.

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