Ice Armor

January 10, 2013

Frost-rimed grasses in the garden

Frost-rimed grasses in the garden

“Every leaf and twig was this morning covered with a sparkling ice armor; even the grasses in exposed fields were hung with innumerable diamond pendants, which jingled merrily when brushed by the foot of the traveller.  It was literally the wreck of jewels and the crash of gems.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Journals, January 21, 1838

I remember ice storms from my childhood in Minnesota — every tree, branch and twig was coated in a clear shield of ice.  Too bright for unprotected eyes.  Precarious footing.  And yes, merry tinkling when the shards of ice fell down.

These frosty January mornings in Seattle are a less piercing pleasure — no crashing crystals, just a silent icy edging.  Here are some photos of this magical world:

These grasses looked like ribbon with their white edging giving a pleasant contrast

These grasses looked like ribbon with their white edging giving a pleasant contrast

Petal pattern, with frost

Petal pattern, with frost

Edged ferns

Edged ferns

Christmas colors!  Red and green.

Christmas colors! Red and green.

In the winter garden

In the winter garden

Layered maple leaves

Layered maple leaves

Nature's calligraphy

Nature’s calligraphy

The frost gives a new meaning to the idea of a white garden.

The frost gives a new meaning to the idea of a white garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statue of the Roman god, Janus

Statue of the Roman god, Janus

“For most of our lives, we are preoccupied by the future.  Looking forward seems far more interesting than looking back.  All that can happen intrigues us, while the past seems fixed and airless.  Gradually, our future gets so much smaller than our enlarging past that we are forced to shift our gaze.  Just as a society derives its heft more from its history than its hopes, we come to suspect that what we have already experienced is our treasure trove.”
— Wendy Lustbader, Life Gets Better:  The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Old

The month of January is named for the ancient Roman god, Janus — the god of beginnings, endings, gates, doors, time and transitions.  I like how this fits in with today’s quote about growing old.  When we are young, our life feels infinite and death feels far away.  But as we pass from middle to old age, life definitely feels more finite with each passing year.

I am interested in the perception that the past becomes more potent as we age, and that our cherished memories will be the treasure upon which we will rest our laurels.  For me, it is a cautionary piece of wisdom — to make sure that I fill my days and years with meaningful experiences, with rich moments deeply felt, rather than allowing my days to pass without paying attention.

I’m still young enough to think that I still have the time to look ahead to plenty of new, enriching experiences. But between these new adventures flows the bigger portion of my days.  The challenge is to reflect and find the treasure in these ordinary moments, too.

Brand new or routine and jaded, you can be sure that I’ll be looking for ways to shape blog posts out of all that life gives me this year!

 

January’s Call

January 26, 2011

Raindrops on a budding branch

“Come, ye cold winds, at January’s call,
On whistling wings, and with white flakes bestrew
The Earth.”
     — John Ruskin

Our Seattle landscape is bestrewn with raindrops rather than snow flakes.  This is what winter looks like to us.

Always Winter

January 25, 2011

“By January it had always been winter.”
     — E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

Gray winter day at Green Lake

 

Wet path around Green Lake in Seattle

Wet pavement, gray skies

Rain-washed street

 

 

To Read a Poem in January

January 29, 2010

Reading poetry in January

“To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.”
     — Jean-Paul Sartre