Ruminating about winter, dreaming of spring

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Nov 13, 2020

The view out the window of my "office" — otherwise known as our guest bedroom — has changed, from spring green to the darker green of summer to autumn yellow, then brown and now bare. The pines in our backyard are still green, but the other trees are holding just their branches up to the sky. When I go down to the basement to walk on my treadmill in the morning, I see my reflection in the window of the sliding glass door.

The butterflies and dragonflies that used to flit past my second-floor window are gone, and today's clouds and fog obscure the blue of the sky. No birds circle under their gray covering. Even Stanley, the cricket who took up residence on my work table for a while, seems to have disappeared. I'm using the space heater in my office more often.

I am not a fan of winter. While I enjoy the cooler temperatures, the colors and the wonderful clarity of a bright fall day, when it's cloudy and chill and the pretty leaves are gone, I can get depressed. It seems there's nothing to look forward to but colder weather, shorter days and — ugh — snow. The dark, once the time changes, is hard to bear, too.

I admit that, for all its inconveniences, winter is worse in the anticipation than in reality, at least most of the time. Losing the power (and water) is a particular worry, not just because it's no fun to be cold, but also because of the danger that our pipes will freeze. So far that hasn't happened, long may it remain so. As long as we have electricity, winter is actually bearable, especially with the aid of a fire in the wood stove.

The first snow can even be pretty, though the older I get, the quicker I get tired of it. And I imagine it would feel strange to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with balmy temps and palm trees. Still, I think I could muster the courage to try it.

Two aspects of winter I could definitely do without are shoveling snow and driving in snow (and ice). If you've ever spent an hour or two trying to move a vehicle stuck in the snow, you understand what I mean. It's enough to make you wonder why anyone still lives north of Washington, D.C. And then there's the fact that from November through January, it's always dark.

But this year, thanks to Maureen, I do have something to look forward to, albeit not right away. She talked me into buying a large quantity of bulbs, and further, into working with her to remove crabgrass from a couple of small plots in our yard to plant them. It was tough, back-breaking work, but I couldn't help feeling excited as I dropped each bulb into its hole and covered it with earth. I've planted roughly 125 bulbs — tulips, muscari and narcissi — which should provide quite a display long about April.

We still have more bulbs left, but I think those are going to be gifted to a friend with a greener thumb than mine. Now that all my little bulb babies are down for their naps, I might just tuck myself in, too, to wait out the cold and the dark until it's time to bloom.

Sarah E. Reynolds is editor of The Republican Journal.

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