when the cold comes

photo by Alyssa Bausch
owl by Alyssa Bausch

When the cold comes to New England it arrives in sheets of sleet and ice. In December, the wind wraps itself around bare trees and twists in between husbands and wives asleep in their beds. It shakes the shingles from the roofs and sifts through cracks in the plaster. The only green things left are the holly bushes and the old boxwood hedges in the village, and these are often painted white with snow. Chipmunks and weasels come to nest in basements and barns; owls find their way into attics. At night, the dark is blue and bluer still, as sapphire of night.
~ Alice Hoffman
(Here on Earth)

22 thoughts on “when the cold comes”

  1. Do you enjoy your cold New England winters Barbara? I can only imagine what such extreme cold must feel like and to me it seems dreadfully romantic, the idea of snuggling safely indoors, away from the freezing cold temperatures.

    1. Oh yes, Joanne, I definitely enjoy our cold New England winters, although they don’t seem to be quite as cold as they used to be, probably because of global warming. It is romantic, after one has been outside shoveling snow, sledding, ice skating or fashioning a snow man, coming inside and having a cup of cocoa curled up in a blanket is one of life’s wonderful simple pleasures.

    1. But it didn’t stick around, Jeff! Now that we’re back from Georgia I do hope we get at least one snowstorm, some romance and drama, before spring comes…

    1. Thank you, Robin. There is something enchanting about winter. I found the owl photograph last summer and couldn’t wait for winter to come so I could use it! 🙂

  2. What an exquisite image! And Alice Hoffman’s words paint a picture that is equally beautiful and compelling. I am familiar with cold like that and the deep blue darkness that comes with it. The memories stay with one for a lifetime, I think. The feeling of the cold and the air when it is 40 to 50 below and the almost unbearable beauty of the night sky. I am glad for the memories but also very content to be living in much milder climates now. I hope you are staying warm and dry as the storms move through your area. Take care!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the picture and the words, Colleen! The memories of cold winter nights and sunny, yet frigid, days between the snowstorms certainly do stay with us. We used to walk half a mile to our bus stop and I remember my parents bundling us up for school, even on the coldest of days, with instructions to keep our mouths and noses covered with our scarves so that the cold air would not hurt our lungs. I miss building snowmen and ice-skating in the swamp, and remember one year when our dad built us an igloo! Wishing you an enjoyable and mild winter, my friend.

  3. I moved from CA to New England for 10 years and lived that cold. Beautiful description by Alice Hoffman – I found it romantic the first year, just horribly cold and gray the next 9! The owl photo says it all. You just hunker down and live through it, and try not to get your feathers ruffled.

    1. Love that image of hunkering down and trying not to get our feathers ruffled! Some of us New England natives enjoy the thrill of winter storms year after year, and others, like my daughter-in-law, can’t bear the cold and move south as soon as an opportunity arises. 🙂 But you’re right, a winter without enough snow is dull and gray…

  4. What an incredible photo of the owl! And a lovely quote to go with it. I hope your winter is going well so far, Barbara. I loved how the new snow this morning revealed all the happenings while we were asleep – little footprints on the steps, jumping, playing, foraging. Now shoveling it is another thing altogether! Happy New Year to you and your family!

    1. I’m glad you like the photo of the owl, Cait! Little footprints in the new snow are delightful to see, and sometimes they might lead to someone’s little burrow. 🙂 You’re lucky to be getting snow – we missed the first snowstorm here while we were down south on our Christmas trip. Keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get at least one more before spring comes… Happy New Year to you and your family, too!

  5. Hi,
    Just love the photo of the Owl, although I do feel a bit sorry for him, he is gorgeous.
    I don’t really know what it is like in very cold weather, but the snow always looks fantastic to me.

    1. It amazes me how our birds can survive in the bitter cold. Many of us put seeds out in bird-feeders over the winter to help them find enough food to keep themselves warm. In return we get to watch them from our windows, feeding, their colors standing out in the white landscape.

    1. Thank you, Rosie – I’m so pleased that you liked the combo. Let it snow, please! I hear last year averaged three degrees warmer than normal – global warming is definitely upon us…

    1. Hi Jane, the owl does seem to be lining up with the wind direction. Once I saw some Canada geese do the same thing in a rainstorm. I’ll be reading Alice Hoffman’s book, too.

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