more light

Well, only about 15 below this morning.
Even though it’s windy, the trees seem reluctant to move
and the sky is having trouble turning blue:
stony gray branches, a pallid blue sky.
The sun glitters as it comes up
a distant light, behind glass.

But as it rises I know spring won’t be long in coming.
The sun rises higher and stays longer,
more light every day.

j j j

wincing cold

I wake up to howling gusts of wind.
The softened snow has turned to hard, slick ice. And all day it just gets colder, from 7 degrees when I get up to 12 below zero at 8pm… and maybe as low as 20 below zero tomorrow morning. But no new snow – not even a flurry.

I wince when I get the paper,
when I take out the garbage,
when I get the mail.
I’m out and in fast enough that I hardly feel the cold,
but after I come inside
my clothes press their cold into my skin from the outside in
and I shiver
(at their petty cruelty).

J. makes homemade tortillas for lunch, and I’m warm again.

I hear the first movement of Schumann’s Kinderszenen (“Of Foreign Lands and Peoples”) on the radio, and I smile.

j j j


38 degrees in the morning, 43 in the afternoon
I believe I can smell wet earth, and I dream of gardens – fresh seedlings just sprung from the soil,
green and growing, and of running water.
But after dark my dream dissipates into fog
and flowing water freezes again
and stops.

I bake bread, working the dough with my hands because I can’t yet work the soil.

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almost spring?

on my back under a sunny window
looking up at the sky
it’s almost spring:

blue sky, warm sun
but then I have to sit up, and stand
and see the barren, gray trees and hard, white ground

j j j

olive drab thaw

Warm – in the twenties – heavy haze in the morning and softening snow. More birds come out, refueling. Goldfinches in olive-drab winter garb are back at the thistle-seed feeder. By early afternoon there are hints of washed-out sun.

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snowball moon

after first light, but before the sun comes up
the moon hangs like a snowball
not quite full any more, a little lopsided
waiting to drop.

J. makes a casserole with root vegetables and kale from some random bits of a Victory Garden episode we saw a few days ago. Good, and simple to make (especially for me, since J. did all the cooking).

I don’t want to complain too much, but it seems to me that there are no gardening shows left on TV any more, at least not during any time that I watch. Even Victory Garden isn’t what it used to be – very little coverage of vegetable gardening (which is what victory gardening is supposed to be all about), and lots of coverage of exotic ornamental gardening and visits to distant destinations. In other words, nothing I can use. And the so-called Home “and Garden” Television channel has no gardening shows at all. Maybe gardeners don’t watch television any more, or the long, slow, quiet process of gardening doesn’t lend itself to the instant gratification needs of TV. It’ll just drive me back to the library/bookstore, which is probably where I belong.

j j j

hope above zero

10 below zero in the morning. The sun comes up tentatively.
Each sunbeam reaches out to each pine needle
and holds on as the sun pulls itself up, inch by inch.

10 above zero by nightfall. After double digits below zero it feels softer, milder
(a person can get used to anything).
Perhaps we’re turning a corner, leaving the coldest days behind.

j j j


Enough already with the cold. We walk into town bundled up – mummified.

I feel a little removed from the world encased in layers of polypropylene, fleece, wool and down, behind sunglasses, in heavy boots, but I still breathe the 0-degree air directly into my lungs and it invigorates me.

Clothes muffle all my senses: I hear only my breathing, the hard crunch of boots on ice. I smell the damp wool of the scarf over my mouth. I see fractured sunbeams through icy eyes. And I feel good. A little self-centered, maybe, but good.

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Cold and bright again.

The setting moon, almost full,
lights an iridescent halo in the thin clouds trying to cover it up.

At the slightest breeze invisible crystals float up from yesterday’s snow
and sparkle in the sunlight.

j j j


Clouds move in, so it’s not quite so cold this morning, but it’s also not so bright. I feel a bit dimmer, too. Early Monday morning, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

I bake bread, two loaves, of wheatberry bread – chewy, substantial.

Jenny makes spinach salad – with frozen blueberries we still have from last summer’s garden

By the end of the day we get more snow than expected, a light powder, maybe a half-inch. It’s easily swept away, but on the old crust of snow it stays, softening.

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