January: In the blue sky there is not a cloud, and if it’s cold and numbing inside the house, I can imagine how it must feel outside, in that white world beyond my window.
From the comfort of my cozy nook behind the window, I think I see something moving towards the far end of the garden... a bird? A fairy maybe? Perhaps, it is the spirit of the garden what I see, because with the movement also comes a whisper... like tiny voices, a whisper like snow dust falling from the sky. The voice I hear is like the singing of the birds in spring-time, and the murmuring of a forest brook, and the weeping of a lonely woman at a graveside, all strangely blended. I know it is the voice of Nature... it is January’s voice—melodious like all voices in Nature, yet within itself carrying all the melancholy of winter.
Trees are leafless and bare, and great white icicles hung from their branches. The little garden is silent and noiseless. I admire the manicured aesthetic of snow and how the garden seems almost perfect under such purity... Several inches of fresh snow had fallen, the clouds had gone, still, all this whiteness, so pure, so calm, embraces me with cold so fierce I can barely resist. My watery eyes, transfixed by this whiteness, search the garden seeking to uncover the secrets hidden in the ice. I walk the white puffy snow covered paths identifying the deciduous bushes, daylilies, purple snapdragons and old rose bushes sleeping under the snow. It’s amazing how the world can suddenly change before your very eyes when it snows... everything you once knew is gone. Another world emerges, changing the panorama you once knew. Even the tall pine and the dark evergreens that grow beside the fence are bent beneath their load. ...only down the little garden path there are my footprints in it.... and footprints of something else! I wonder if these footprints are those of the abominable Barbegazi, a fairy creature known to hibernate during the warmer months of the season. They come out of their burrows once the frigid waters have returned. These creature are rarely seen and usually only before a blizzard, which they enjoy very much. During the winter months nobody comes out after dark--or nobody nearly. The women who wash with water don't come, nor the men who drink, nor the children who play from morning to night during the warmer seasons. Not even the dogs of the village will creep out, because they know... Ah, the Troll, the very reason why fairies dislike winter so much... I'm almost certain, however, that those deformed footprints do not belong to the terrible Barbegazi, but to a dog named Conan the Barbarian, who decided to have some fun and follow me around.
“I have such beautiful dreams beneath you”—I talk to the snow. How white, how white and dazzling! True winter lovers worship this, and with cheery eyes they cherish the memory and the time they had with the snow, but my dreams are different.... I dream of warm sunny days and green leaves and soft buds emerging from under the brown bark, I dream of uneven meadows of black-eyed Susan and Marigold, and little singing brooks, whispering to the long grasses and white forest flowers, and among knotted swollen roots the bright-backed beetles and busy ants... Have I mentioned before how much fairies dislike winter, or how they cannot tolerate cold or cloudy days? Oh yes, maybe here, and here, and even here. It has nothing to do with ungratefulness, or disdain, or obliviousness towards all the beauty contained in the snow as some might think... is something deeper, something that cannot be explained with mere words to be understood. And so, as snow keep falling, and frigid air keeps singing, like little children singing a round as the shadows get long, I am off to sit in the sun for a while... There is a mist in the valley in moonlight tonight, but after tomorrow the sun will rise and burn that mist away for me...
See you soon!