Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Winter Solstice

Winter - Ivan Shishkin
Yes, today is the first day of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. I didn't want to let this pass in the tumult of battle and the roar of tank engines from my current series of posts about a time so far removed from today's youth that I may as well be writing of the Punic Wars. But I get it.

An ad in Wednesday's junk mail caught my attention this morning.

"Collection of U.S. Postal stamps, most over a half century old!"

My first thought was, "Wow, those are some old stamps." My second thought was that a half century ago was 1967. I was 14 then, I looked at the stamps, some I recognized. Some I remember putting on letters. What was once commonplace is now collectable. From my perspective, those stamps weren't that old. A younger person might disagree.

What's that got to do with winter, you might ask. Winter is the time of year when, to many people, everything seems dead. The cold seems to permeate every thought and action. (Depending where one lives of course and for certain definitions of "cold.") As one ages, cold becomes a bit less tolerable. One starts to think about nudging the thermostat up just a hair. To take the edge off, dontcha know?

But when it snows, I feel the excitement of my youth. I remember the days of snowball fights, sledding, building snowmen and snow forts. The sparkling lights of Christmas decorations reflecting from the new fallen snow. Magical.

Then I'm reminded that I need to go somewhere to do something. Doesn't matter what it is, I have to clean off the deck, clean off the car, scrape the ice off the windows, let the cabin heat up. Dad did all that when I was young. Now I'm Dad and his dislike of snow and ice becomes more clear now. Even if I don't fully share my father's disdain for winter.

Yup, winter is here. For the moment it's magical and wonderful. Soon though it'll be January and winter's welcome will begin to wear thin. But for now, I'm enjoying the ride.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.  
His house is in the village though;  
He will not see me stopping here  
To watch his woods fill up with snow.  

My little horse must think it queer  
To stop without a farmhouse near  
Between the woods and frozen lake  
The darkest evening of the year.  

He gives his harness bells a shake  
To ask if there is some mistake.  
The only other sound’s the sweep  
Of easy wind and downy flake.  

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,  
But I have promises to keep,  
And miles to go before I sleep,  
And miles to go before I sleep.

Entrance - Sergei Arsenevich Vinogradov
Trust a Russian to know what a real winter looks like.


  1. Snow!
    It looks good at a distance and in pictures.
    I will go to it.
    It need not visit me.

  2. Along the lines of Uncle Skip's comment; when my father retired from the USAF, he/we moved to California because, he said, that if he wanted to see snow, he would go visit it, not have it visit him.

    Thanks for the post.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. P.S.: Merry Christmas.


    2. I don't mind the snow, I miss it when it's gone.

      Still, as long as I have someone else shovel it, I'm okay.

    3. Merry Christmas to you and yours Paul.

  3. I used to think nobody could possibly enjoy a snow related school closure more than children.
    Then I married a schoolteacher.

    I enjoy the snow much more now that I am retired.

    1. I can see that.

      Actually, I can see both points you make.

      Two more years on that last bit.

  4. Snow is nice.
    At sunrise on a winters day, covering the yard in and even blanket of white.

    And gone by 10AM

    1. Amen....the older I get the more I agree with you.

    2. Juvat - I'd give it until noon.

    3. Nylon12, roger that. There's only so much these old bones can take!

    4. I'm OK with Noon, but not a minute more!


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.