Thursday, October 4, 2012

First frost

There is something sad about a fellow who loves alpine flowers and plants from cold temperate climates generally, and who resents the winter that these plants require in order to exist. Doesn't make much sense, really: I know I should give up my resentment of frost and learn to appreciate the crisp, clean outlines of winter, her simplicity.

Everyone says we are burdened with too many things...rather than the garish displays of poppies and pansies, as we see above, I should enjoy the crisp gray outlines of the hills and the clean, crisp emptiness of winter.

And a piece of me does: I get a lot of reading done in the winter months (which I love), and get to California (which I love) and sometimes the southern Hemisphere (which I love a lot)--which is cheating I know, because I'm escaping into lushness and verdure (and summer) again.

One of my favorite poets is Antonio Machado, a wonderful Spaniard, who sings the praises of the bleak Castilian landscape at all times of year, especially winter, in muscular, elegant verse.

Last night we had frost, and killing frost is predicted the next two nights. Maybe I would resent it less if the word wasn't modified so cruelly.

Suddenly I notice the Rockies outside my bathed in gorgeous crimson Alpenglow (a mostly winter phenomenon): I give it up! Bring on the snow! Welcome winter! Bring it on!


  1. As one who loves studying plants, I used to get very melancholy during winter months. That was before a neighbor introduced me to winter mountain climbing. This got me out of the house to do something active. Don't think you are too old either, my old Scotsman neighbor was well into his 60's. There is nothing like a frost on balsams right before dawn. Now I live far away from any mountains and I miss them.


  2. Frost is only fall, not winter. Why mot enjoy the frosts of fall? Plus, in Denver, you'll probably get a few more 80's and many more sunny, dry 70's to make winter interesting.

  3. Thank you, James and David, for your encouragement: I'm not really a depressive type--and make the best of the winter months. And as I hinted, I do have an appreciation for neutral colors and quietude...and I do escape it all rather more frequently than I imply.

    Your comments are more than valid: I admit I have an attitude problem, but my final sentence was sincere: there are facets of the dark months that I really relish--I must simply focus more on those!

  4. I think the key to happiness during long winters is getting outside. At least for those of us who can't escape to a warmer climate.

    Below is a link showing hoar frost on Balsams.

    Imagine walking through a grove of Balsams in the dark just before dawn. You have only a head lamp to light the way. The lamp shows the gleaming crystals that appear like uncountable diamonds covering these magnificent trees. The cold air is so clear it heightens the senses. The smell when you brush against a branch is of Christmas. This is what I miss about the mountains.



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