We truly are in the deep dark of December….a satifying phrase that makes use of words beginning with the same sound….dark deep December. As the sun goes down early each day far to the southwest of my home, I often start thinking about the darkest time of year. I found some poetry and some quotes that pleased me this afternoon and I am sharing it with you. One lighter spot recently was the arrival of the second seed catalog…the first one came while it was still November.
First two poems that please me. "I heard a bird sing/ In the dark of December,/ a magical thing/ And sweet to remember. "We are nearer to spring than we were in September"/ I heard a bird sing in the dark of December." (by Lover Herford) And another one to which I hear the music of a not-so-familiar Christmas Carol: "In the bleak mid-winter/ Frosty wind did moan/ Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone. / Snow had fallen, snow on snow/ Snow on snow/ In the bleak mid-winter, long ago."
Then I found a quote that really spoke to my heart: "From December to March, there are, for many, three gardens. The winter garden outdoors… the garden of pots and bowls in the house…. And the garden of the minds’ eye."
Oh yes—-I look out at the finally frozen row of kale I can see from my living room windows and remember its sweet tenderness in summer salads. I can look out at the brown dry heads of the coneflowers and the black eyed Susan daisies, supported by brown dry stalks bending in the winter winds. I look at the garden spot that will bring tulips to life in late March and early April…I can already see in my mind the bright colors of the many tulips I have planted. Then I look around me and see my own garden of pots and bowls inside,one holding a large red- leaved coleus plant that is also sporting, for now, a few sprigs of fake holly berries. In the basement under the Gro-Light I have a veritable green oasis with the Old Geranium living out winter in her big pot waiting to be transplanted for the 12th year out into the summer garden; she is green and verdant and thriving under the lights. There are Bette’s tropical plants and the spider plant she has entrusted to me while she spends 5 months in the tropics of Hawaii. My own pot of saved Impatiens is blooming, and the several pots of grape ivy are sprawling over their pot rims as they also thrive under the lights.
Andrew Wyeth the famous and much loved American artist says this about winter: "I prefer fall and winter, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape—-the loneliness of it—the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it. The whole story doesn’t show." If you have ever viewed Wyeth’s paintings, you can sense his love of the fall and winter landscapes—many of his most famous paintings, such as "Groundhog’s Day" look out on a bleak winter landscape through the window panes of one of his Pennsylvania neighbor’s home. Many of his paintings are in winter and fall colors—-browns, grays, the occasional brightness of a leaf fallen from a tree. I love the bleakness of his art.
And Albert Camus said this: "In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me, there lay an invincible summer." That simple sentence speaks volumes.
And finally Ruth Stout—-a woman who must live a similar life in the country as I do, says this about Winter: "There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you….in spring, summer and fall, people have an open season on each other; only in winter,in the country, can you have longer quiet stretches, where you can savor being yourself."
Right now… in the deep dark of December, I am savoring being myself…especially on these snowy days of privacy and quiet when the snow falls and falls and piles up on the Spruce trees and the roof of my little cabin.