Monday, December 11, 2017


Like a child on Christmas Day, I leapt out of bed at 5am to look at the world cloaked in white. Sparkling white snow everywhere. I've been giddy all day, taking the dogs out in it in their ridiculous red tartan coats, watching them leap like bunnies across it, standing in the woods and staring up at the white branches as if in a ghostly cathedral. It's Narnia here. Really it's Narnia. It's magical and white and glittering and everyone's greeting each other with jolly hellos. We're on top of a hill in the Chilterns and we're in a very small village; there are boxes of salt on the side of the road but I haven't seen a snow plough, nor do I know if such a thing exists in the English countryside. This is unusually snowy. This kind of weather sends me into paroxysms of glee and also sends me online searching for used Land Rovers. My poor darling is stuck in Berlin, where all the flights have been cancelled, as is making his way back via Köln and Dortmund and Brussels on a train.

Yesterday, walking through the cold woods, waiting for the snow, I realized that winter makes me, makes us, want to simplify. Summer is about abundance: flowers and fruits and buzzing bees and plenty. Winter is about taking stock, about letting go of things, about appreciating the beauty of minimalism. The cold seals you up, makes you careful, forces you to think about what you can lose without losing yourself. Winter isn't chaotic, unlike Spring, when everything bursts into being. Our job in winter is to keep warm, is basic sustenance, is thoughtfulness, is kindness.


tedsmum said...

Hope Charlie got home safely! Thanks for another uplifting post x

Misty said...

Sums it up nicely.

Katherine C. James said...

This is lovely, Bumble. As I read it, the sun is shining outside my Northern California window's crisp 49°F morning. Through the branches of the tree that fills my window frame there are patches of bright blue sky. The tree is filled with leaves, now shifting from green to scarlet. There won't be bare branches until January. You note your country winter requires you let go of all but the essentials. As you know, we don't have that here, with our temperate seasons. My favorite childhood book is The Wind in the Willows. I love the winter kindness and hospitality of Badger, Mole, and Rat. What you wrote is beautiful, "Winter is about taking stock, about letting go of things, about appreciating the beauty of minimalism…Our job in winter is to keep warm, is basic sustenance, is thoughtfulness, is kindness." Even when I lived in Chicago, and heavy snowstorms came down along the lake shore, I was in a city, and the snowplows came and went before we had an opportunity to consider what it would mean to let go and take stock. One of my loveliest winter memories is staying at the Yorkville Four Seasons in Toronto with someone I loved, and having our time extended by a winter storm that snowed us in at the hotel. Time stopped, nothing and everything seemed possible, and I felt happiness in just being. Sending you love from a warmer climate. xo.

Miss Whistle said...

Thank you, Katherine. Rather envious of your San Francisco winter just about now! You've inspired me to re-read Wind in the Willows! Much love xo

Misty, than, you xo

Tedsmum, he did! An epic journey on a train across Europe! xo