Monday, January 09, 2017

Embracing winter ~ My column from Sunday's paper

NOTE: I wrote this column last Wednesday before the Snowmaggeden event.

I know I say this with every change of season, but it’s beautiful this time of year. After the drought last summer and fall, the trees looked tired. We had some color but not like years past. But then the rain came. It was refreshing not only for the trees but also for my spirit. It gave the earth a drink before turning in for winter.

Jilda loves winter, too. The moment the weatherman said we could have a little of the white stuff this coming weekend, she put up our “Let it Snow” flag on the arbor. I think it’s because she spent time as a child in Chicago. She talks fondly of times when it snowed booty-deep.

I think our great nephew Jordan took after her because he loves the snow too. He’s already
Snow Pie from a few years ago
taking orders for snow pies. I learned firsthand a few years ago about his snow pies. They are gnarly mixes of snow, grass, and small sticks. I can tell you that one of these babies upside the head was enough to do me.

We have stores of Carnation Cream, vanilla flavor, and sugar. All Jilda needs to complete the recipe for winter ice cream is snow.

I like snow now more than I did when I had to work in Birmingham. Snow is fine if you don’t have to drive in it. Drivers in the south haven’t mastered the use of turn signals, much less driving in snow.

After spending time in Panama, I grew tired of the oppressive heat year around. I realized that each season has things to offer and they are beautiful in their way.

Yesterday, after arriving home later than usual, I slipped on my sweatpants and walking shoes to get in some steps before dark. The dogs almost knocked me down when I opened the garden door. They love the cooler weather, and I admit that I do too.

At the end of my walk, I paused and leaned on the back fence for a few minutes surveying the sky. Through the trees, the horizon looked like it was ablaze. I pulled the phone from my pocket and snapped a few frames, but pictures never do justice to the beauty of a moment.

Once back inside, I flipped through the daily mail. We received some bills, junk mail, and three seed catalogs. Setting the bills aside, I brewed a cup of green tea and sat on the sofa with the catalogs.

The pictures of tomatoes, squash, blueberries and apples in these catalogs are like visual crack to me. When I got to the section on flowers, I held the page close to my nose and sniffed it. The first company that invents a way to let you smell the bouquets will make a fortune.

Seed catalogs are like the old Sears and Roebuck Christmas Wishbooks we used to get when I was a kid. They give us a hint of good things to come. After a few months of sweaters and overcoats, the late winter sun will start warming the earth. That’s when the seeds and plants ordered in January will begin arriving. Waiting until after the last chance of frost is a test of willpower. Time has taught me to give every season their time.

Happy winter.


  1. We refer to garden catalogues as garden porn. And we both invariably succumb.
    And here in the sweaty season I am loving hearing of cooler times. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous1:37 AM

    What are you thinking of planting this year?

    1. Hey Fran, we'll grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, dukes, and the other veggywe love.
      There's nothing like a salad from your own garden.

  3. I like the changing seasons here but am not a big fan of winter. I start thinking SPRING early on in January. Winter has a way to go yet and it will tike it's own good time whether I like it or not. Thoughts of Spring keep me going!

  4. I look forward to pictures of your spring plantings.

  5. One day, yep, one day we will have our own garden again. Strage but I seldom see a family garden here in Florida, yet veggies grow by the train loads in the country. I dig in this sand and wonder if we could even grow a tomato. Now that you brought it up, I think I will try! We sorta have seasons here in central Florida. I don't think we have winter, we have 'Cold Snaps'.

  6. I need a proof reader, That is 'STRANGE but I seldom see a family garden here.....'

  7. I like getting the seed catalogues. They remind me of my father who read them religiously. Then he made his selections and made plans for our yearly garden. Mom was the one who ordered the flower seeds. Always lots of zinnias included.

  8. We love those catalogs too. Winter here is a bit more brutal than by you but I grew up in this and can't say I hate it. The gray days are harder to take than the snow days! We usually can't plant much until the end of May or early June but eventually it comes in and we savor every tomato! My brother Phil was in Panama the past few months. He loves it there. The rest of the year he lives in Cape Coral Florida. He's not interested in snow anymore! Have a good day Rick!

  9. Even though I am not the least bit fond of winter, since we have way too much of it here... I also think I would miss it if I moved to a warm country... Since I am working from home this year I am not minding the snow as much... as you say, traveling in it is the hard thing xox

  10. I love Winter! Rather, I USED to -- when stepping out resulted in a audible crunch and the cold, piney air practically hurt ones lungs.
    'Surprised to hear Jilda loves it, too, since she's from Chicago! Tom's first 35 years living in Chicago is the reason he gets an ugly look on his face and says he never wants to see the white stuff again!

    I'd love to taste Jilda's winter ice cream someday!

  11. I am wishing for snow as it is raining here. I miss snow and this weather is wonky. Yesterday it was -6C and this morning, the same but then it increased to +6C and warm for 2 days and then back down again. Glad you are enjoying the winter:)

  12. I like snow, have had a couple of snow holidays would love to take Leo on a snow holiday I think he would love it, it is really bloody hot here at the moment


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