Winter simplicity

 

image

 

How things are stripped down in winter.  The exuberant green foliage of trees and bushes is totally absent.  Few birds sing.  All the details of houses and gardens are swathed in snow, flattened out, smoothed, obscured so that only streamlined shapes are visible.  My hearing is affected because sounds are muffled by the snow and by my big hood, lined with soft velvet and trimmed around the face with black fur so that I look out into the white world through a fine fringe.  Even on sunny days the sun is low and rather than enhancing my sight, it is dazzling.  The world is reduced to white, light, straight lines. Where the great river widens the waves have disappeared.  The water has frozen.  I suppose one could walk out onto the snow that has fallen over the thick ice but no one braves the windswept open space.  Where would one walk to?  What would be the goal? On such days I often think about the pioneers, the brave or desperate few who took their chances.  How they must have clung to the little comforts they had.  Faith, hope, religion arrayed against nature.  Indifferent nature must have seemed powerful against ideas, theories, dreams.  How I admire them and thank them, send good thoughts to their memory.  On the bitter afternoon I can stand beside the great expanse of water and take a photograph or two and retreat to my car, drive home and drink “a nice cup of tea”.

image

 

December light

 

 

image

 

Some some kind friends got together and gave me this book as a thank you gift quite a while ago. Heaven knows, I had done little enough for them.  They are women of great intelligence and energy who were quite able to become better museum guides than I will ever be.  Is that false modesty?  Of course, when we say better we have to look at scholarship, interest, ability to work in a group, memory, delivery , humour, interest in the visitors. . . Oh, I can hear them now. ” But she left out. . . ” so we all became good guides and the ” better” is nonsense.

The book is a brainstorming tool.  I read what I had written on one of the pages his morning and found just one phrase, just one phrase to use in something I am writing now and I wanted to say thank you to those women who gave me something that was really thoughtful.  I don’t see you very often and I will make an effort to do better.

 

It it is such a dark morning today.  I left the Christmas lights on for the little ones going by on the bus this morning.  But soon it will get sunnier and lighter.  In the meantime we have to be illuminated from within.  Those women lit a light within with this gift.  Thanks to them.