Friday, December 2, 2011

December and Snow

The four seasons - each glorious in its own realm.  What a magnificent concept - dividing the year with different weather.  Truly, I love them all.  Of the four, winter is the most interesting with its mixture of rain, snow, frost, bright sun, and foggy days.
I have always been fascinated by snow and the fact that there are so many different types of snowflakes.  Although no one can say for certain, it is likely that no two snowflakes are exactly alike.  If you've never seen a snowflake chart, here is one.  You have to wonder who took the time to check snowflakes for patterns.

Be sure to step out next time it snows and compare as many as you can to this chart.  Uh-huh.

The winter season for many places means freezing temperatures.  I grew up in the Midwest, where the snow piled higher than me and it was extremely cold.  It didn't stop us from playing outside- building snow forts, throwing snowballs, building snowmen, sledding down the nearby hill.  I walked to and from school from Kindergarten through high school and loved every minute of the chilling biting winds with mounds of snow everywhere.

That was then.  Over the years, I developed a sensitivity to cold.  Who knew that was a real illness?  Now I dread the winter months because I'm ill quite often.  Where I used to go for walks in the snow, listening to the ice crunch under my boots and watching hot streams of breath issue from my mouth, now I must sit in the house and look outside at the glistening snow on the trees and ground.

Who couldn't be fascinated by this elegant yet freezing product of winter weather?  Poets have written about it, painters have painted it, singers sing about it.  I've always said Christmas comes in the midst of winter to bring us an inner warmth that not even a fireplace fire can compare to.  A time of warm soups and stews, hot breads, cookies and pies fresh out of the oven, and hot drinks.  When I think of snowy days, I think of cuddling up with a blanket, a small plate of cookies, and tea with a novel to read.  I think of our Christmas Eves with the cheese fondue and chocolate fondue, a green tree decorated colorfully - artistic against the background of snow.

So I share a couple of my favorite winter/snow poems, including one I wrote.  This is a William Shakespeare piece I've read more times than I can remember.  His words ring true for this time as well as his:

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind by William Shakespeare
Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly. 

I really enjoy this one by Robert Frost.  Many feel the last two lines are about suicide.  I think those lines do have two meanings - one is he does have a long distance to go before he reaches home and can sleep, and the second meaning is that he still has much traveling to do on this earth before he is taken Home.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost (1923)
clr gif

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Of course, I must post a poem I wrote about snow.  In no way does it compare with these great ones.  It's not even been edited yet.  Still, I have it here for your enjoyment.

The Falling Snow

The evening snow
falls quietly
upon the ground,
upon the trees.

In thick flurries
it does surround
all of nature
on the ground.

It is not like
the wind or rain
that slams against
the window pain.

The wind will howl
and shriek and blow,
and often it
puts on a show.

The rain will
do its little dance
and plop and
ping at every chance.

But glistening snow
so bright, so white,
it makes no sound
but lights the night.

It’s wonder that
the eyes do see,
but for the ears
falls silently.

The wind will howl
and make a fright.
Yet it cannot change
the ground to white.

Rain drizzles
through clouds gray
or soaks the ground.
It rarely stays.

But snow,
So soft and bright,
blankets outdoors
in covers of white.
by DM Yates

May we ever be grateful for our changing seasons and may we all enjoy something from this winter time.


shelly said...

Very nice post! I hate to say it but I don't like snow. I came to that conclusion at nine.

During winter break I'd go to Baltimore to visit my grandparents. I learned quickly that navigating the outdoors armed in a snowsuit took way too much energy. Not to mention, I couldn't stand or walk on icey side walks well.

DM said...

lol, Shelly. I know what you mean. Thanks for sharing this story and for commenting.

The Desert Rocks said...

My folks hated snow and I guess I'm certainly glad they moved us out to California. I don't think I would like to drive around in snow, ice and fog. Nope. Love your poem and of course Robert Frost is awesome. I think he just had miles to go until he would get home to sleep that's all. Sometimes we want to read too much into his work but I saw an interview of him that actually might be on You Tube, where he acted and spoke very naturally about his poetry--even going as far as saying he doesn't remember what he meant when he wrote them.

Roger Lawrence said...

We don't have glorious seasons in England. Just rain and snow and general gloominess all year round.

Lovely poems.

DM said...

The Desert Rocks, I so want to live in warmer weather year round. I really don't like driving in it. I agree that often people make too much out of what is written. Thank you for your comment.

Roger, thank you for your comment. Rain, snow, and gloominess? I guess I'll stay here.

Barbara said...

Donna after reading this... A time of warm soups and stews, hot breads, cookies and pies fresh out of the oven, and hot drinks. When I think of snowy days, I think of cuddling up with a blanket, a small plate of cookies, and tea with a novel to read... I want to spend the winter with you!
I can't agree with Roger - we do have lovely seasons - the autumn was short but beautiful in Somerset! OK there were lots of grey days but some glorious one's too.

DM said...

Barbara, thank you for your comment. We'll have to arrange a Wintry Reading Day for all our friends served with a variety of cookies. Grey days have their beauty too, as you so well stated.

Angie said...

Oh, mom! I love this post. It's simply beautiful. And I don't know about you, but I certainly count you as one of the great poets. You are one of my favorites and you know how much I love poetry.

Your entire poem was absolutely gorgeous, however this snippet:

"But glistening snow
so bright, so white,
it makes no sound
but lights the night."

Truly struck me. Possibly because when the night is lit with snow, I find that magickal and comforting.

Thank you for posting this gorgeous post!

Beth said...

Well, you already know how I feel about snow...detest it with a passion. I wouldn't mind it so badly if it snowed just every so slightly, leaving only a light dusting on things....not to be dumped on!!! I hate that! I hate shoveling the stuff and I hate driving in it...

Yeah, I think it's safe to say that I don't like snow.

DM said...

Ange, thank you for your sweet comment! You do me great honor, and I am glad you like my poem.

Beth, what can I say? It's beautiful to look at, but not deal with. A light dusting now and then would work. Thank you for your comment.

Elizabeth Maginnis said...

Yeah, I have to agree. I love watching the stuff fall but don't like dealing with it. My nephew in Florida was incredulous to learn that we have to "do work just to get out of the driveway before we can go anywhere." Still, come spring, I get this smug sense of accomplishment at having survived another Lake Ontario winter.

DM said...

Elizabeth, thank you for your comment, and I understand that smug sense when spring finally arrives. Those Lake winters are the toughest.

Joleene Naylor said...

I understand the sensitivity to cold - I have Raynaud's and so being out in it for more than a few minutes makes my feet and hands burn like fire. It's really very frustrating sometimes, especially when trying to take photos, but I have learned to go out for a few minutes, come inside to warm up, then go back out, etc. etc. As the devil drives and all that ;)

I don;t think I have ever seen a snowflake chart! Thanks for sharing that! I once got a semi-decent snapshot of snowflakes - it;s blurry but you can see the shapes. I thought it was fun:

Donna Yates said...

oh, wow, Joleene, that photo was great. Even tho it was blurry, I could see different types of snowflakes! I have a cousin with Raynaud. She says it can be quite painful.
Thank you for your comment.