73 thoughts on “A Poet Ponders “Cold”

    1. Indeed she is, Teresa. I found a volume of her work in a stack of reading material at Matfield Station, where I stayed during my trip last fall. I’d read some of her work, but many of the poems in the book were new and I’ve been dipping in and out of them. I thought this one appropriate for a season that’s turned a little colder, a little longer, than many people enjoy.

      Linda

  1. Lovely, and I only want the summer of the luminous fruit. Though here in Florida today is truly luminous with blue skies and a thin, thin covering of clouds…perfect light.

    1. Judy,

      You’d better stay out of the Panhandle, then. I just picked Destin’s forecast at random, and discovered cold temperatures and ice pellets are forecast for them, too. While we’re shivering, you’ll be out roaming the rookeries. Thank goodness for your bulletins from the season that’s yet to be – yet to be for us, at least!

      Linda

      1. Crimeny!! Today is great but I am here at the office!! No birds today! Sounds like cold may arrive before I get another such great day!! Mother Nature answers to no one’s schedule!!

    1. Hippie Cahier,

      Have you seen “August: Osage County”? It just occurred to me it’s a good example of “cruel but honest” in a non-meteorological setting.

      Of course, cruel but honest could refer to Inigo’s evaluation of your efforts in “the season of snow, the immeasurable cold”, but we’ll let that one pass. No one should criticize our inner six-year-olds!

      Linda

    1. It did, indeed, Z. Let’s hear it for Colander Power!

      Thinking of you reading this at the Equator reminded me of how the summers here can drag. Too much heat, too much cold, too much rain, too much drought – when things feel out of balance in our surroundings, it affects everything, especially our spirits.

      Here reference to the “red, crushed flowers” brought you to mind, and your hibiscus tea.

      Linda

      1. Hibiscus! tea! I just remembered that I picked blossoms yesterday and never made the tea! They’re a bit sad looking now beneath a flower arrangement of royal poinciana. Wish I could send you some, not just via virtual flower drop!

        1. We’re cold, but starting to dry out. Maybe you should send those hibiscus over to Gulfport and surrounds! Look at this, from Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel:

          Snow/sleet mix is starting to come down in Gulfport, MS. The bridge tender for the Wilkes Bridge on Hwy 605 closed the bridge due to icing.

  2. Hi Linda:

    I’m afraid I don’t agree with the perspective of Mary Oliver regarding winter. Being born and raised in the tropics I prefer warm weather rather than the cruel cold winter.

    I can surely understand her words regarding summer:

    “I think of summer with its luminous fruit,
    blossoms rounding to berries, leaves,
    handfuls of grain.

    FYI, it’s 01:02 p.m. on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Breezy and cool. Temperature: 32 degrees Celsius. This is my kind of weather.

    Regards,

    Omar.-

    1. Omar,

      On the other hand, heat and drought can be just as deadly, just as much of a struggle as the cold. You’re lucky enough to live in a truly temperate climate, where the greatest variations are in rainfall and the biggest differences in temperature depend as much on elevation as seasonal changes.

      Actually, I just looked at the climatological data for Panama City, and thought to myself, “Maybe Omar’s living in heaven!” This time of year, the swings are what are difficult here. Right now, we’re at about 21C. Tuesday, our high is forecast to be 3C. Want to trade places? I didn’t think so. ;)

      Linda

  3. She is in the top 5 for my favorite poets…she writes so simply, but always sweeps me off my feet. We are close to 45 degrees…ridiculous for January in Alaska. But, outside…we must go, no matter the weather.

    1. Monica,

      The simplicity is stunning, and deceptive. She always rewards re-reading. That’s why I never dismiss out of hand any of her poems that doesn’t seem immediately appealing or accessible.

      Tuesday we’ll be Homer’s sister city, temperature-wise. Thirty-eight. On the other hand, Homer will be clear and we have a possibility of snow. I’ve a pot of soup on the stove right now.

      Linda

    1. Curt,

      Many people – myself included – respond the same way with our summers.

      I can endure the August and September heat, grumpy but coping. Once the first little front comes through, or even after the humidity drops and everyone remembers what “October” feels like, going back into the heat is nearly unbearable. Once we’re given that glimpse of what’s just around the corner, the impatience sharpens considerably.

      Eliot had it just right, I think, in this, from “Little Gidding”.

      “Midwinter spring is its own season
      Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
      Suspended in time between pole and tropic.
      When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
      The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
      In windless cold that is the heart’s heat,
      Reflecting in a watery mirror
      A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
      And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
      Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
      In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
      The soul’s sap quivers…”

      Linda

    1. Ellen,

      I’ve thought often of how cold it must be there for you. Something about Karl’s photo of the lake brought it home more sharply.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem. It doesn’t surprise me that you have favorites among Oliver’s poems. Do stay warm, and be careful. We’re to have another dose of cold and ice this week, and I’ll strive to cope as well as you do with your much harsher conditions.

      Linda

  4. Love this! How comfortable are we with ourselves?

    “I dream of his fat tracks,
    the lifesaving suet.”

    Lifesaving indeed.

    “Maybe what cold is, is the time
    we measure the love we have always had, secretly,
    for our own bones, the hard knife-edged love
    for the warm river of the I, beyond all else…”

    May we find the warm solitude of our voice, passion, or the environment where we are most at home and be comfortable with it.

    “the beauty
    of the blue shark cruising toward the tumbling seals.”

    hmmmm…may we get to know ourselves that voraciously.

    Very timely post as we hunker inside to stay warm, seek/find/pursue “the warm river of the I” and not fall victim to cabin fever.

    1. Georgette,

      One of the things I most appreciate about Oliver’s poetry is her clear-eyed assessment of just what’s going on out there in the world we call “Nature”. The beautiful blue shark cruising toward those tumbling seals doesn’t want to hang out and talk sea conditions. He’s got dinner on his mind, and those seals are it.

      Or, these wonderful last lines:

      “In the season of snow,
      in the immeasurable cold,
      we grow cruel but honest; we keep
      ourselves alive,
      if we can, taking one after another
      the necessary bodies of others, the many
      crushed red flowers.”

      If we’re to survive the wintry blast, we’re dependent upon “the necessary bodies of others” – the furs of animals for clothing, the wood of the trees for warmth, the caches of food purchased or killed – just as animals and birds take one another to ensure their own survival.

      What most intrigues me about the poem is the last phrase about “the many crushed red flowers”. The very first lines of Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” talk about a cat she once had. The creature would knead her so vigorously that, as she puts it, “I’d wake in daylight to find my body covered with paw prints in blood; I looked as though I’d been painted with roses”. It’s impossible to know whether Oliver even knew of Dillard’s work (though I suspect she did) but the connection is there for me, and it’s intriguing.

      It is a timely poem, and richly imaginative. I suspect it will go nicely with these next few days.

      Linda

  5. As you know, the cold comes with a vengeance in the midwest prairies. It causes excitement and stirs fear for many people. Those without home and warmth face possible life and limb threats.

    Today started windy and warm for the date. Later, cold will rush in for two days with wind and snow. Kind of makes one want for things mentioned by Omar.

    1. Jim,

      We’re sharing the same weather pattern, though your actual conditions are more dramatic than ours. It was windy and warm for us today, and there’s cold coming with two days of wind and (oh! let it be so!) snow. Well, flurries, at any rate.

      The cold certainly is a problem for those on the street. In Houston proper, there are good shelters for people who want to come in, and mobile vans that provide blankets, coats and so on for those who prefer to stay outside. There are some creative solutions being offered for a few homeless in my town, too – some of which certainly seem to require officials turning a blind eye to the solutions which have been found. Good for them, I say.

      Linda

      1. Yes. People need help with this. It will pass. But for now, they need whatever works.

        I hope you keep your pipes from freezing. Don’t paint on any varnish for a while. :-)

  6. I’m not familiar with Mary Oliver’s work, but there is so much truth in what she says. The cold makes us hunker into ourselves, searching for release into the familiar warmth of sustenance and love. The connection to “August Osage County” – cruel but honest – is apt. It is authenticity.

    1. Kayti,

      One of my favorite Oliver poems is called “The Journey”. You can find it as the first entry on this page, and I suspect it will resonate for you. It rather reminds me of things you’ve said about your own art and your career.

      “Authenticity” is a word that seems apt for Oliver’s work. Also: reserved, thoughtful, and observant. Even when I don’t especially like or respond to one of her poems, I appreciate watching her work.

      Linda

    1. Nia,

      Isn’t her poetry grand? I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. She was delightful poems that describe spring and summer, too. I’ll be glad when the world looks like those poems.

      Linda

  7. Beautiful and perfect.
    I spoke with my sister in Florida a few days ago. When I asked her how she was, I received a one word reply, “Cold.” She said it was in the fifties. I laughed. It was 7 when I got up that morning. Everything is relative.
    Thanks for the poem.

    1. Bella Rum,

      Isn’t that the truth, about everything being relative? A friend who lives in Manitoba is presently getting 60 mph winds, blowing and drifting snow, and is on tap for lows in the range of -20F to -25F. Then, there’s the wind chill factor. I’m embarassed to even open my mouth about “cold”.

      On the other hand, when I think about life in Iowa during the winter, I don’t remember it being so awful. We knew how to dress for it, for one thing. And we knew about things like engine block heaters.

      Which reminds me – when we had our ice last week, a friend saw her neighbor doing the old “let’s pour boiling water over this frozen windshield” trick. The woman managed to escape without any harm done, but it’s a great example of our lack of coping skills down here. When you haven’t grown up with it, you don’t know what to do with it.

      Glad you liked the poem. It seemed appropriate.

      Linda

  8. A timely posting of the poem. I too am ready for ‘the summer with its luminous fruit’! It has been and it is a winter of discontent for me! Too cold and for too long. Thank you for posting this lovely poem.

    1. Maria,

      You’ve certainly had your share, and I suspect even having your photos of the whole mess acknowledged doesn’t make you wish for more of it.

      I have enjoyed seeing Mimi out and about. It seems as though she’s really in her element – unlike my little sluggard, who tends to huddle under blankets and refuse to come out.

      The good news is that February 14 is our traditional time for rose pruning, and a sign that the season’s about to turn. Like you, I’m ready for it. For one thing, I can’t remember the last time I had a whole week for working. Between Wednesday holidays and nasty weather, things have gotten complicated. I’m as ready for routine as I am for warmth.

      I really am glad you enjoyed the poem. I’m eager to read more of her work.

      Linda

  9. I hadn’t read any of her work before, so thank you for introducing us! How timely this poem is. Winter is definitely my least favorite season. I dislike the cold and the forced inactivity (brought on by the frigid temps, snow, and ice); I dislike the shortness of daylight and the scarcity of the sun; I dislike how dangerous it is to travel or even just get around. Ideally, winter for me would last between Dec. 1 and Jan. 15, no more!!

    1. Debbie,

      Your list of dislikes is understandable. You live in a place that has real winter, and even though it can be pretty and fun to play in, there are challenges. Every time my aunt mutters about how I ought to come back and live in the midwest, I start with frozen door locks and go from there. I have heard rumors that things like heated car seats are available now. Those certainly would be on my wish-list.

      I understand about those short days, too. I’ve never minded the long winter nights, but someone recently pointed out that, because I’m outdoors all day long, I may not experience the dark in the same way as someone who’s cooped up in an office all day. It’s an interesting thought.

      I’m just glad you weren’t injured more badly by your own little up-close-and-personal experience with winter “travel”. January’s almost over – hang on!

      As for Oliver’s work, there’s lots of it on the internet. She’s written a good bit, and I suspect you’d enjoy at least some of it.

      Linda

  10. Oliver’s poetry is fine but doesn’t rattle my cage. It just proves that I can not stretch into new territory. I really like Frost, Kipling, and quite a few of the English poets. I just like things to rhyme and to make more sense. I am a simpleton.

    But,it is a nice poem in its totality. I hope you willl not take offense. I reckon that I just am used to reading your writngs.

    1. I guess I’m a simpleton too.

      Maybe what cold is,
      is the time we measure
      the love we have always had,
      secretly for our own bones,
      the hard knife-edged love
      for the warm river of the I,
      beyond all else;
      maybe that is what it means,
      the beauty of the blue shark
      cruising toward the tumbling seals.

        1. I hope by this time you’ve figured out that I’m not – angry, that is. I can get angry, but when it happens there’s usually no question about it.

          You have reminded me of a few more great expressions, though – like “conniption” and “hissy fit”. Maybe I can find a use for them!

      1. Evening, Al. You and Yvonne! Of all the people I know who might tempt me toward using the term “simpleton” you’re not it.

        On the other hand, as the old song has it, “’tis a gift to be simple”, and one of the things I enjoy about Mary Oliver’s poems is their simplicity. They may not seem so to everyone, but as the old saying goes, different strokes for different folks.

        I am glad to see you, and hope you’re not suffering in any way from the cold up there.

        Linda

    2. Yvonne,

      Now I’m laughing. Why in the world would I take offense? Not everyone likes every poet, or every novelist or essayist, for that matter. I don’t read science fiction or fantasy, but some of my friends who wouldn’t miss the latest offering still speak to me.

      I enjoy Frost, myself, and Sandberg. I can recite portions of Longfellow from memory, and love the story-poems of Robert Service. But Oliver, Billy Collins, Wendell Berry and a few others are new to me, and I’m enjoying getting to know them.

      What’s a fact is that you’re no simpleton. I looked up a whole list of synonyms for “simpleton” and couldn’t find a single one that would apply to you. It’s ok with me if you want to use the word to describe someone else, but gosh – I don’t think you need to use it to describe yourself!

      Since you’re not so fond of Oliver, I’ll share another little gem with you. It’s a beautiful musical setting of Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. The poem is there, too, if you click the little “show more” button under the video, so it’s easier to follow.

      Just so you know, we’ll be back to my oddities with the next post – and it’s a bit of Texana, too!

      Linda

  11. Being weary and blank faced practical- I say it’s survival. There are real life endangering hardships during winter and while I no doubt will get to a point where I will once again romanticize it when I’m away from here, I know that’s wrong. Winter is a killer in so many ways.

    1. Martha,

      Every season has its beauties and its trials. I love the Gulf Coast, but there comes a time when summer’s heat and humidity become suffocatingly oppressive and all I can think is, “Can’t we get this over with, already?” It was even worse during the drought. And the anxieties of hurricane season have their own challenges.

      So yes, it does become a struggle for survival at some point – spiritually if not physically. How well I remember our winter power outages. The first day was fun. (“Oh, look! We’re going to cook dinner in the fireplace!”) By day two the edge was off, and if it went longer, it was no fun at all.

      I’d say you’re pretty clearly right in the middle of “no fun at all”. At least you’ve got some good bakeries and a little camaraderie to take the edge off.

      Linda

    1. phil,

      Yes, ma’am. Monday/Tuesday is our chance at it. I just looked at some animations of the 180 hour accumulations – it wouldn’t take much northward movement of the system to bring in a real mess from offshore. I was thinking I’d have a full work day tomorrow, but now the onshore flow is moistening things up and it looks like we’ll have fog. If it’s not one thing, and all that.

      I really feel for Froberg’s, Maas and other such businesses. But it is January, and they know the drill.

      I’m glad you thought the poem a good choice. There’s another one I dearly love (not an Oliver – much older) but I’m holding it in reserve in case we do get a good storm.

      Linda

  12. Thanks for the poem. :-) I spent the better part of an hour chewing on it tonight (as a winter storm is howling outside this very minute.) The poem was the perfect invitation to stop and draw from some of the many warm memories and recent small joys and take my mind off the fact we are hunkered down and probably stranded for a couple of days.

    1. DM

      You sure enough are getting it. I just saw a comment on another site from a fellow whose parents live in SE Iowa. They dropped from 46 to 18F in two hours and have a north wind at 45 mph now. That’s the system that’s going to be rock’n’rollin’ through the night and push off the coast tomorrow afternoon. Then, it’s our turn for snow – maybe!

      I’m really curious about something. With a berm house, what do you do with blizzards? I keep thinking about my grandparents house during one bad Iowa blizzard – the snow went up to the roof and blocked off both doors. They had to get out through a window on the other side of the house. If you’re built back into a hill, might that be a problem? I’m sure there are answers, but I don’t know what they are.

      I’ve got a pot of soup on I’d be pleased to share with you folks, but getting it there would be a bit of a problem. The poem was easier – I’m glad you enjoyed it. Stay warm!

      Linda

  13. I am by now so tired of the cold even a fine poem can’t warm me up!

    But here is an odd little bit of prose from Robert Walser I’ll send on to you, in return:

    “But it was sweet, quite simply sweet: a bit difficult, and then a bit parsimonious, then hypocritical, then crafty, then nothing at all, then perfectly stupid; and finally it became rather difficult to find anything else beautiful any longer, this just didn’t seem called for, and so you sat, strolled, loitered, drifted, trotted and tarried in such a way that you yourself became a bit of spring. Could all this buzzing feel delight at its own buzzing and cooing and singing? Was it given to the grass to observe its own beautiful variability? Might it have been possible for the beech to fall in love with its own appearance?”

    I don’t know about you, but I’d be delighted to become “a bit of spring” about now!

    1. Susan,

      Well. What a long, strange trip this has been.

      I didn’t recognize Walser’s name last night, so off I went to see if I could find a bit of biography. (I know, I know… But stick with me.)

      I landed on this old article from the NY Review of Books. I started to read. I read, and read until I came to this:

      “Use of a pencil was important enough for Walser to call it his “pencil system” or “pencil method.” What he does not mention is that when he moved to pencil-writing he radically changed his script. At his death he left behind some five hundred sheets of paper covered in a microscopic pencil script so difficult to read that his executor at first took them to be a diary in secret code…”

      That’s when I made the connection, and went over to re-read your post about “Gorgeous Somethings”. Then, I went back to the article.

      What amazed me most was the manner of Walser’s death. As the article tells it in the first sentences:

      “On Christmas Day, 1956, the police of the town of Herisau in eastern Switzerland were called out: children had stumbled upon the body of a man, frozen to death, in a snowy field. Arriving at the scene, the police took photographs and had the body removed.”

      So there we have it. The same man who penned such marvelously evocative words about becoming “a bit of spring” died himself in the snow. Sometimes, as Oliver implies, it isn’t possible to keep ourselves alive. We always risk becoming one of those “red crushed flowers”.

      Just remarkable connections here – and a good bit of poignancy.

      Linda

      1. Oh, this is brilliant! I’d forgotten about the circumstances of his death (even though I only recently learned of them, and we will not discuss what this might indicate about the state of my mind . . . ). I guess this time of year, if we’re in a place affected by the cold, there’s just no imagining it away. It comes back like a boomerang.

  14. I take it that the many crushed red flowers aren’t flowers at all. The phrase reminds me of Tennyson’s much-quoted one from “In Memoriam A.H.H.”: “Nature, red in tooth and claw / With ravine…”

    1. Tennyson’s line hadn’t occurred to me, Steve, but I suspect Oliver’s crushed red flowers have a good bit more in common with his phase than with any garden delights.

      Of course, accustomed as I am to think of a ravine as a narrow gorge, that pair of added words made no sense. So off I went, and found this discussion and this. Now it makes sense.

      Linda

  15. Here at the edge of the Llano, it’s 31F/-0.5C and heading for a low of 8F/-13C. I’m in a lap robe and a shawl with a kitty warming the cockles of my knees. I love Mary Oliver’s poems. I have two quotes from her on the sidebar of my blog. I can do without the polar vortices, Canada. Thank you very much. No snow in the forecast for us, just cold.

    The blue sharks cruising for the tumbling seals make no bones about being what they are. Nor are they abashed or apologetic about it either. With our houses and central heating and grocery stores, we have lulled ourselves into thinking that the world is a safe place. It isn’t.

    1. WOL,

      And here on the coastal plain, it’s 58 heading to 38, and then tomorrow we’ll top out at 39, with a low of thirty. The great delight is going to be the precipitation that will be showing up overnight and increasing through the day tomorrow. Everything’s in flux, of course, and we’ll know what we’re getting once it arrives.

      Mary Oliver is just a delight, and you’ve picked up on one aspect of her work that appeals to me – that lack of sentimentality. I hate seeing much of the natural predation that takes place around me at work, but it’s a part of the world, part of that tension between freedom and necessity built into life.

      I think you’re right that we easily lull ourselves into some fantasies about the nature of the world. But the other side of that coin are the hordes of people that were flooding the grocery and box stores like Target tonight. Those loaded shopping carts aren’t entirely rational – we’re going to be thawed out again by Thursday. Still, there’s that felt need to drag some bread and mik back to the cave ahead of an impending storm – not to mention the Tostitos and beer.

      Well…. and birdseed.

      Linda

  16. This, my friend, is as timely as it gets for those of us up in what is beginning to feel like the Tundra. Under a down comforter, three quilts and flannel sheets, with a heating pad and microwaved beanbag I’m pretty cozy — till that middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom or early rising. -11 windchill this morning and colder tomorrow and all I can do is long for a quick passing, for this has gone on quite long enough, thank you. I long for the first sign of crocus, grass and that chartreuse bud on the branches that truly signals spring.

    Mary Oliver say it well and eloquently. But I’m still wearing fingerless mittens as I type…

    1. Jeanie,

      Oh, my gosh. It makes sense that I’d have to resort to fingerless gloves for work, but the thought of you using such for typing – well, I just feel for you.

      I can guarantee that spring will come, I’m just not sure exactly when. I saw a lone flower today – an early narcissus, perhaps. I didn’t stop, but if I can get out tomorrow maybe I’ll take a photo of it. There are trees heavy with buds, and new buds on my Cape Honeysuckle. They need to dally a little before opening, though. We’re not quite done with winter – even here.

      But Oliver has some words about Spring, too. You might like these. They make me think of Harry, for some reason. And of open windows, and truly fresh air.

      Give thanks for flannel, down comforters and poetry – and hang on!

      Linda

  17. Lovely, and especially fitting these days. We are bearing the brunt of what is called the “Alberta Clipper.” Cold air from the northwest has us hunkering down. “Clipper” of course brings to mind the speed of the ships, but also invites me to think of things that cut. Harsh weather generally forces us to cut some things out, or to make decisions (de-cidere to cut away) that reflect what most matters. Winter seems to be a time for sorting out. Thanks for this!

    1. Allen,

      Sometimes harsh weather forces us to decide what to cut, and sometimes it does the cutting for us. I’ve been chatting with a friend in South Carolina tonight. They’re forecast to get as much as .75″ of ice, which means Mother Nature herself may do some pruning of limbs, trees and power lines.

      I think your Alberta Clipper must be akin to what we call a “blue norther”. They come fast, hard, windy and cold, and when they arrive, woe betide those who aren’t prepared. But a “norther” is an event, not a season. Your winter cuts out some activities, like sailing, altogether, and I suspect it dictates your other activities in ways those of us in more temperate climes can’t imagine.

      Still, there’s something lovely about bad weather outside when inside is filled with warmth and peace. These evenings are made for interior pursuits – books, music, conversation. I hope your evenings are filled with such!

      Linda

  18. I love the poem. So many wonderful images in there, simply said but full of meaning…then the surprise of the red flowers, which I found slightly confusing but having read through the comments my reading was probably along the right lines.

    Thanks, Ill be looking up more of her work.

    Funnily enough, I wrote a poem about summer today! I was really struggling with a theme of ‘an invitation’. There I was gazing forlornly out of the window, the dark sky and hail, the water water everywhere and suddenly I started writing about a Greek island :)

    1. thinkingcowgirl,

      The red flowers stopped me – stopped me cold, you might say. Of course Oliver’s accomplished enough as a poet that I suspect that’s exactly what she intended. Like the best nature photographers, she’s a master at pulling out the smallest, most ordinary detail and presenting it in such a way that we find it compelling, and once we find words, end up saying, “I’ve never seen such a marvel.”

      However cold you are, it sounds as though an invitation to a Greek island would be welcome. Trading white snow (or hail, or gloom) for the brilliant white of the houses and the blue water would be fair, I think – or at least welcome. I do hope as you get farther into this we’re going to get to enjoy some of your poetry on your blog. I have a feeling it’s quite good.

      Linda

  19. I don’t think I’m familiar with Mary Oliver, but it is a deep poem, to be sure. It’s getting bitter cold here as we hunker down for the second bout with freezing rain, sleet, and something called ice pellets. Bridges will be closing, and we are all advised to stay home. So what am I doing instead of reflecting on summer, like Mary? Sitting at my desk playing catch up, while cold emanates from the oak planks beneath my feet and the wind howls outside the door.

    One more thing, we’re still working on the transition to a new format for my blog, and I posted a video yesterday; yet not one person seems to have seen it. I can’t figure out what’s wrong. I’d like two favors from you. Please tell me if my new post came up on your Google reader notification. (I think that’s how you follow me). If not, can you hop over there and tell me if you see it? I’m just befuddled right now.

    Stay warm, my friend!

    1. Bayou Woman,

      We’re finally clearing out here. We’ve had freezing rain, sleet and enough cold to slick up some bridges. I saw that I-10 was closed between Lake Charles and Lafayette – may be open now, or not. And there was a report of snow from atop our Ship Channel bridge. I only got to see sleet – and still do, as a matter of fact.

      I hope those screencaps help you out. It may well be related to WP upgrade, because when I first got notification of that post, I was able to read it, and would have been able to leave a comment, except I wanted to finish watching the video. Knowing it’s the system rather than you isn’t very comforting, but at least all things cyber didn’t fall apart on a sunny day with 75F and light breezes. ;)

      Linda

  20. Our goats huddle together in the cold of night, warming each other with their bodies as we humans did until we conquered nature sufficiently to be able to keep ourselves warm while keeping our distance from one another. I doubt that’s what she has in mind with the words “taking one after another the necessary bodies of others,” but it’s the image that came to my mind. Maybe it’s because I’m reading a book that includes a description of some wounded soldiers trapped behind enemy lines in the Battle of the Bulge, huddled together in the snow, sharing their body heat in an effort to stay alive. Of course I prefer to imagine our doing so not out of desperation, but just because it makes good sense.

    It snowed again here yesterday. Just an inch or two of icy snow that won’t melt today, as our high is forecast to be 29 and our low 6.

    I think of summer, with its luminous fruit…

    1. Bill,

      As soon as I read your comment about the goats, I thought of the expression, “three dog night”. And what irony – which I’d never considered until you brought it up – that our ability to warm ourselves independently has brought about a certain distance from others.

      I remember stories from my mother and others of her generation, describing how all the kids would clamber into the same bed during winter storms and cold. Seems your kids do the same thing – and their parents, too.

      We’re still at freezing, but the warmup begins today. By noon I’ll be at work, reminding myself to enjoy the cold while it’s here. August will have us longing for this.

      I have to smile. Your mention of summer’s luminous fruit brings up an image of – asparagus!

      Linda

  21. This poem sounds cold, very much so. I can relate to it.
    “Almost unbearable. tree-splitting morning”. But cold also brings luminous blue skies if not fruits and sharks… I like Winter for its dry cold air, any bright colors on the snow like little red berries that would have survived. Cold such as described in this poem is purifying too. Difficult to explain but one feels it.
    In any case, thank you for sharing this poem I read for the first time, but not the last.

    1. Isa,

      Those “luminous blue skies” are one of the gifts of our winter. Although we miss the snow most years, we do have strong fronts that blow through, dropping the humidity and clearing the skies. When That happens, I can’t see “forever” from the top of our local bridge, but I can see for miles across Galveston Bay, and watch the ships moving in the channel wtih perfect clarity.

      I still can hear, in memory, the “squeaky snow” I loved so much as a child. There’s nothing like a walk in the moonlight, with nothing but the sound of snow and the stars. There’s no way to put it except to say, “I hate being cold — but I love the cold.”

      Still, as so many are saying here, enough is enough. It’s time for Nino to be romping in fresh green grass, and for the scent of flowers on the air. Besides, Mary Oliver has some lovely springtime poems, too.

      Linda

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