32° F (Feels like 26° F)

Silence…

thrilling cold —

so much beauty.

Like breathing pure oxygen.

~ Susan Sontag, from “As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is – and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue.” ~ Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale (via beyondthefieldsweknow.org)
  • Photo Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

It’s better than sex.

Speedskating on natural ice is a beloved Dutch national pastime. The tradition is alive and well — just not necessarily in the Netherlands, where climate change now yields winters too warm for the waterways to freeze over with any consistency. The consequences of this have been felt most profoundly in a historical event called the Elfstedentocht, a one-day, long-distance speedskating tour through 11 cities of the Friesland province. It maintains a sacred place in Dutch sports culture. This week, the original Elfstedentocht is passing a worrisome milestone: Friday will be the 8,070th day since the previous edition, the longest period without a race since its inception. But the Dutch refuse to let its spirit die. So every winter, close to 6,000 people from the Netherlands make a pilgrimage to Weissensee (Austria)…

A thousand Dutch skaters congregated before dawn on the frozen surface of the Weissensee, the long, slender lake that gives this small Austrian mountain town its name. The sky was dark, and the headlamps of the shivering skaters cast a spiritual glow onto the charcoal ice. They had been warned not to remove their goggles, lest their eyeballs frost over in the wind. The conditions, by any reasonable standard, were brutal. But the skaters were in heaven. “The most beautiful thing in life is skating on a floor of black ice, in the cold, hearing the sounds of ice skating in nature,” said Wim Wiltenburg, 53, a banker visiting from Tilburg. “It’s better than sex.”

~ Andrew Keh, from Racing the Clock, and Climate Change (NY Times, Feb 7, 2019)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (February 11th)

The moon is out. The ice is gone. Patches of white
lounge on the wet meadow. Moonlit darkness at 6 a.m.

Again from the porch these blue mornings I hear an eagle’s cries
like God is out across the bay rubbing two mineral sheets together
slowly, with great pressure.

A single creature’s voice—or just the loudest one.
Others speak with eyes: they watch—
the frogs and beetles, sleepy bats, ones I can’t see.
Their watching is their own stamp on the world…

I steel myself for the day.

~ Nellie Bridge, from “February 11″ from Echotheo Review, July 18, 2011


Notes: Poem from 3 Quarks Daily. Winter Moon photo in Norway by Maren Fredagsvik

Miracle. All of it.

The Great Cold Snap of 2019 has given us a ton of terms we didn’t know we needed: Frost quakes. Snow squalls. Steam fog. Now we can add another one to the list: ghost apples.  Andrew Sietsema was pruning apple trees in an icy orchard in western Michigan when he came across some.  “I guess it was just cold enough that the ice covering the apple hadn’t melted yet, but it was warm enough that the apple inside turned to complete mush (apples have a lower freezing point than water),” Sietsema told CNN.  “And when I pruned a tree it would be shaken in the process, and the mush would slip out of the bottom of the ‘ghost apple.'”…

~ Doug Criss & Gianluca Mezzofiore, Another byproduct of this extreme cold: ghost apples (CNN, February 8, 2019)


  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Monday Morning

january wakes up with the first light of dawn. swings his feet out from beneath the blankets to touch a cold floor. the air around his is quiet and crisp. today starts a new day. a day to be kinder. a day to be braver. a day to be more.

Kelsey Danielle, @ Misguided Ghosts


Photo Credit

how easy it can be to find your own quiet place

Q: Is the image based on something you saw? How did it come to you?

“More than being based on something I saw, I would say it comes from something I experience often. I was trying to capture the feeling of being immersed in a book to the exclusion of everything around you. I think my love for reading comes more from the need to connect with my inner reality than from the desire to escape the external one. Proust described it perfectly as “that fertile miracle of communication that takes effect in solitude.” …

My first time in New York was in 2010, when I spent three months there, during the winter. My most vivid memories are connected to that first stay. I remember big blue skies, ice-cold feet, hot black coffees, fresh bagels, and huge pizza slices.

The gif was animated by the talented Jose Lorenzo. I often collaborate with him—I love the way he brings my images to life. We didn’t want the image to be too frenetic. For me, it was important to maintain that feeling of peace and timelessness that happens when you’re reading. I also wanted to show how easy it can be to find your own quiet place in the city without having to go far out of your way.”

Anna Pariniin response a question from , on this week’s cover in The New Yorker, which shows a rare moment of calm amid the bustle of a new year.  Parini, who has contributed illustrations to the magazine since 2015, grew up in Milan but is now based in Barcelona. Mouly spoke to Parini about New York’s wintry charms and the process of creating an animated cover image.

(Source: Anna Parini’s “A New Leaf”, The New Yorker, January 7, 2019)

the miraculous, every day in winter, not 15 feet from my window

red-birds-at-feeder

To the Editor:

Re “The Solace of Birds in Winter” (Op-Ed, Dec. 15): I am smitten with my backyard birds. What is it about the industrious little souls leaping delicately about my tray feeder that so lifts the spirit? Their spunk? Their equanimity no matter the weather? The variety in their eating habits?

Mourning doves plunk themselves down in the center of the tray to chow down. The red-bellied woodpecker grips the edge and won’t yield his position. The chickadees and nuthatches take a seed each, one at a time, to a nearby branch to nibble.

A chickadee weighs less than half an ounce. Its coat of feathers, half an inch thick, keeps its tiny body at about 90 degrees even when the air temperature is zero. It is this, then, that takes my breath away and is the source of my affection — the miraculous, every day in winter, not 15 feet from my window.

Margaret McGirr
Greenwich, Conn.

New York Times, Letters, December 17, 2018


Photo: Project Feeder Watch titled “See Red” by Stephen & Judy Shelasky, Longmeadow, MA. 4 male Cardinals, a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a little sparrow checking out a female Cardinal as she flies into view.

Christmas Eve (3:44 a.m) … and Magic

And Lindsay captures it wonderfully in her photo above and in her post titled “Snow Falling” – while I sit here in darkness, early this morning, watching snow fall on Christmas Eve:

“There is something absolutely magical about snow falling. I am always in awe of the eerie silence that falls around the house as it lightly touches down on our roof and the ground around us. I love how from somewhere it picks up little hints of light so it resembles glitter falling all around you…It was magnificent. It was glorious to be able to lean up against the window and just watch the big flakes fall luxuriously down around us. Something about snow makes me feel like a little kid all over again.”


Inspired by: “—light snow, silence, the empty streets, the fog, thrilling cold—so much beauty. Like breathing pure oxygen.” ~ Susan Sontag, from As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks 1964-1980

 

Picking a World

One world
Includes airplanes and power plants,
All the machinery that surrounds us,
The metallic odor that has entered words.

The other world waits
In the cold rain
That soaks the hours one by one
All through the night
When the woods come so close
you can hear them breathing like wet dogs.

~ Tom Hennen, “Picking a World” in Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems 


Poem: via See More. Photo by Aleksi Tikka titled Hazy Moonlight (Harinjärvi, Lake in Finland)

Sunday Morning

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight…
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

– Billy Collins, from “Today” in Poetry Magazine,  April 2000


Notes: Photo: Kittux with Canary. Quote: Thank you Whiskey River

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