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She emerged from the lush greens on our Saturday stroll in the Rotary Gardens.

DSCN8891

On Tuesday, Yeats appeared on my daily feed from The Writer’s Almanac . . .

Down By the Salley Gardens
by William Butler Yeats

Down by the salley gardens
my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens
with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish,
with her would not agree.

In a field by the river
my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder
she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish,
and now am full of tears.

Then Maura O’Connell showed up today.

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Turnings

dscn66135-e1269782576184She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
 A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

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Special Edition

DSCN7506 - Version 5The Good News 

The good news
They do not print.
The good news
We do print.
We have a special edition every moment,
And we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
That the linden tree is still there
Standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
To touch the blue sky.
The good new is that your child is there before you,
And your arms are available:
Hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
And help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
Smiling its wondrous smile,
Singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
And preoccupation
And get free.
The latest good news
Is that you can do it.

The Good News by Thich Nhat Hanh

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2-blizzard-of-1888-nyc-grangerimage from here

I awoke to another gray morn here on the Cutoff.

 I bit my tongue, tried not to complain about the cold, felt mightily for the folks on the east coast; especially Boston.

I remember our winter of ’78/’79, with snow piled so high it bested Tom’s 6’4″ frame. Having “dibs” on parking space even floated out to the burbs that year with folks shoveling snow off their rooftops and the deepening worry of flooding if snow melts too fast.

I will admit to laughing out loud with weatherman, Jim Cantore, who jumped around with unbridled glee at the thundersnow in Boston. Alison of Apple Pie and Napalm recently remarked about weather, that “I never worry until Cantore shows up” in a comment on a recent post. It took me a moment to figure “Cantore” out. I finally remembered.  He is the meteorologist from the Weather Channel who comes out in the worst of storms.

Jim Cantore was enjoying the thundersnow, which is a rare and potentially dangerous phenomenon not often witnessed.  I experienced it for the first time in 2011, and wrote about it here.

But, I digress. . .

. . . as I tickle the keyboard,  snow is sneaking around, barely visible. I knew it was snowing before looking outside, for the room darkened as gathering flakes shaded the skylights; white upon gray upon winter.

I turn to Billy Collins to bring some smiles on yet another colorless, wintry day, where he, too, writes about the sound of snow – and other things.

Snow Day

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.

But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news

that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed.
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with—some will be delighted to hear—

the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.

So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.

And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.
Billy Collins, “Snow Day” from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems

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Very early Sunday morning, not quite dawn, something woke me up. A sound. I glanced around, peaked out of the bedroom windows, went down the stairs, looked out the door. Nothing was amiss. All I saw were snowflakes, dancing in the air. I knew what had awakened me.

It was the sound of snow.

Snow has a tune of its own, with notes that form a melody that is as hard to explain as each different, downy flake. It was the sound of snow that woke me.

Awake, I put the teakettle on, set out a cup and saucer, swirled some local honey in the cup, and waited for the pot to boil. As I waited for the water  to boil, I remembered a poem by Wallace Stevens.

The Snow Man by Wallace StevensDSCN7152

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

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The Beads of Life

The space between events is where most of life is lived.
Those half-remembered moments of joy or sadness, fear or disappointment,
are merely beads of life strung together
to make one expanding necklace of experience.

The space between events is where we grow old.
From sunrise to sunset one day lives as another day emerges
from the fluid womb of dawn,
the first bead strung upon the everlasting thread of life.

The space between events is where knowledge marries beauty.
In quiet reflection we remember only the colored outline of events,
the black and white of war,
the rosiness that surrounded our first love.

The space between events is why we go on living.
The laughter of a child
or the sigh of wind in a canyon
becomes the music we hear expanding in our hearts
each time we gather one more bead of life.

From “Dancing Moons” by Nancy Wood

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DSCN6958 - Version 2

Say, di ‘ja ever come down an old stair well

‘n shiver from your head to your toes
While your Pop shook up the fire
‘n your Mom warmed up your clothes?

Then have your eyes jump with surprise
As you looked beneath the tree
‘n everyone shoutin’ and hollerin’ around
‘n the whole house filled with glee?

Did ‘ja ever know how good an orange tastes,
when you ain’t had on fer a year;
Then find one in your stockin’, with a note,
“For Sonny dear?”

. . . from the poem, Country Christmas, by Cody Paige, which can be found in its entirety here.

Do you come from a tradition of Christmas stockings? Did your stocking, or your children’s, have an orange in it, or, nuts in their shells? Do you put out oranges, or any fruit, as part of your seasonal celebrations?

 

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