Friday, January 22, 2010

A Winter Kiss

A hoar frost turned my neighborhood into a "winter wonderland." (photo by Lon Horwedel)

Last week winter slammed me to the ground and broke my elbow. This week she picked me up and gave me a kiss. It was just a gentle, little peck on the cheek, but still, it was nice.

In just seven days, the hard-packed snow and ice that broke my wing had been replaced by a true Mother Nature masterpiece. And it’s not like we get a lot of those around here, especially in the dead of winter. You know, the stuff jigsaw puzzles and postcards are made of – real Currier & Ives material.

A rare, hoar frost had set in overnight transforming the entire neighborhood from ugly gray to virgin white. The frozen fog had dressed the naked trees in a brand new skin - a powdered sugar miracle that made them look both brand new and really old all at the same time. Now it was mine to enjoy on a beautiful Sunday morning.

There was no sun, and yet it was bright. I could feel the air’s moisture on my face and I wondered if it was freezing to my beard in much the same way it had frozen to the branches. You know, making me look much older – real Burl Ives material.

Each exhale seemed to freeze in space inches from my face and fall like needles onto my boots, and the dormant grass drooped over from the weight of its brittle payload. One step in, and they’d surely snap under my feet like uncooked spaghetti.

So I stood there and took it all in. I didn’t move forward; I didn’t move backward. I just stood in one place and slowly turned a full circle until I’d taken in all 360 degrees. There were no birds; there was no wind; just a perfect, little moment between Mother Nature and me.

It wasn’t that cold for January, a tropical 30 or 31 degrees, but plenty cold enough to create the meteorological magic that carpeted the landscape before me. 

Every Christmas morning should look this way. Every couple on a first date should walk through this wonderland. Every first kiss should take place right where I was standing.

I soaked it all in for as long as I could until my glasses fogged over.

If Ma Nature was apologizing for my broken limb, she had a nice way of doing it.

“Thanks” I said, to no one on particular.

Then I rubbed my throbbing elbow, and walked home.


  1. I have always missed moments like that... when I was a teen and doing my roadwork in the dark of the mornings before traffic and noise came, being out seemed like a treat. It felt like it was a secret between me and winter and no matter how cold and snowy it may have been, there would be days where it was elegant beauty.

    Good to see that I am not alone in being able to find the beauty in winter. Spring is way overrated!

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