too bleak and cold

White-breasted Nuthatch by Mdf/Wikimedia Commons
white-breasted nuthatch by Mdf/Wikimedia Commons

Nay, nay,” said a nuthatch, making its way, head downward, about a bare hickory close by, “The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat. Only the superfluous has been swept away. Now we behold the naked truth. If at any time the weather is too bleak and cold for you, keep the sunny side of the trunk, for a wholesome and inspiring warmth is there, such as the summer never afforded. There are winter mornings with the sun on the oak wood-tops. While buds sleep thoughts wake.”

Blue Jay by Mdf/Wikimedia Commons
blue jay by Mdf/Wikimedia Commons

“Hear! hear!” screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, “winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it,” and then the speaker shifted to another tree farther off and reiterated his assertions, and his mate at a distance confirmed them; and now I heard a suppressed chuckle from a red squirrel that heard the last remark, but had kept silent and invisible all the while.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Journal, November 28, 1858)

18 thoughts on “too bleak and cold”

  1. I do believe that you have brightened up your cold and bleak weather with these gorgeous photos Barbara. You have found that nutty, winter kernel. xx

  2. Oh Thoreau, and Barbara, thank you for reminding us of the sunny side of that tree and the sweetness of the meat “nearer the bone”. Love it!

    1. Fortunately after that brutal winter our spring was long and lingering and the summer much cooler than usual, in fact, we never even had a heat wave! But…. meteorologists are predicting another cold and snowy winter – time to start digging up more winter words and images…

    1. Thank you, Diane! This was one of my favorite posts and I cannot believe I never got around to responding to the comments – maybe some day life will settle down…

  3. Oh, these photos are lovely–especially combined with Thoreau!

    Hope you are doing well. I have been so busy and not able to keep up with blogging. I do have a new post scheduled for tomorrow, but SO little time to read blogs.

    I need to do better. I’m trying to catch up now.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! You’re not the only one who has trouble keeping up in the blogosphere, as you can see from this awfully late response to the comments here. Life has a way of catching up with us. For me, I’ve had a lot of grieving to do and some days are better than others. I’m looking forward to some new posts on your blog in the near future! *hugs*

    1. This nuthatch seems to be saying that not only is the sunny side of the trunk nice and warm, but the underside of a branch has much less snow to deal with!

  4. Oh, it’s so perfect to quote Henry David Thoreau here. He inspires me so much (did you know our dog is named for him? Henry. Or Henry David when he gets in trouble…).And your posts inspire me also.

    1. Thank you, Pam! I didn’t know that you named your dog Henry David after Thoreau – what a great idea! Maybe I should have named Zoë (my cat) after Emily Dickinson… Now you’ve got me wondering if there are others who name their pets after writers or other noteworthy people?

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