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moody winter mornings

November 30, 2015

according to the calendar it is not yet winter,

but given the fact that we have not seen temperatures above freezing

for nearly a week i have applied the label “winter”

in reference to anything occurring since thanksgiving day.


this morning, on my way out the door to feed the horses,

i was momentarily distracted by the wreath affixed to said door.


we had another light snowfall last night,

and that combined with soft morning light

gave the outdoor world a hushed and holy glow.


after a series of neck scratches, mane ruffling,

and muzzle nuzzles, i stuck to the appointed task of

handing out the groceries.

once that was accomplished,

i climbed the fence and headed out back

to take in the chill beauty of the world just after daybreak.


the many and varied tracks in the fresh snow was evidence

of the presence of night visitors.

i see the bunnies cavorting around the yard in the snow at night,

truly frolicking and having a grand time.

i’d love to see the creatures that visit the open land after cover of darkness.


the winter sky is a spectacular thing, especially at first light.

i think of ‘misty monet mornings’, especially if there is fog.

if mornings have the vapours i grab my camera and click with abandon

to capture the effect of the air with its transparency impaired.


there was no such fog this morning, but the fresh snowfall was invitation enough.

i never tire of seeing my natural surroundings through new eyes.


there is such an elegant simplicty that comes with the starkness of winter.

line and form take artistic stage when color diminishes and texture is subdued.


softer grasses have lain down under their mantle of snow.


tree silhouettes stand as stark contrast in a much flatter landscape.


color streaks in the sky are fleeting, clouds dancing playfully with light.


i think of the tiny creatures that slumber beneath this winter blanket.


the stronger, more rigid branches still arch gracefully skyward.


my favorite of these is the teasel.


i love teasel in any season, but the way their spiky blossoms

capture and hold the snow gives them a softness that is

completely uncharacteristic.


there is something beautiful about that,

prickly things being made soft.


the teasel managed to snag my attention for a good while–


until my fingers complained of the bitter cold and impending frostbite.


walking back along the fenceline this singular stem rose up

in defiance to the elements of winter weather.


the evergreems actually seem to welcome the cold and snow,

looking particularly vibrant and bright.


the row of black walnut trees simply submit to it.


compared to the bright and vivid landscape of summer,

i suppose the winter landscape does seem bleak.

it’s easy for me to opt for indoor activities when temperatures plummet

and chill winds start to blow.


truly, though, winter is equally beautiful once i commit to bundling up

and heading out with eager senses to absorb what is offered.


i forget how eager farm animals are for human contact when we spend

substantially more time indoors.


i have a real perspective shift when i throw my arms around my horses’ necks

and feel the stiffness of their coats that froze during the night

after the snow melted on their backs.


there is no complaining, only joy that i have returned–

that i can be depended upon to provide the simple things they need.


walking back toward the house i know that there is no better way

for me to have started this day–


to love in winter that which i love in summer,

even in its altered form:

muddy, fuzzy horses, dormant plants,

and air that has turned brisk and bracing.


i live in wonderland–  we all do.


it’s right outside our door.


  • in other news, i took my third full-out, flat-on-my-back fall a couple of weeks ago

when i stepped outside to feed the animals one morning.

that first step was the only step–  morning fog had frozen on the deck

and the next thing i knew i was going down.

as the pergola spun dizzily overhead i faced the onerous task of determining

if i could move my assorted body parts.

i was damn lucky, yet again.

if things come in threes i should be forever done with falling on ice,

although i had sincerely hoped that my epic flying dismount

could have substituted for one of those falls.

my dislike for snow and ice is not unfounded.

i am getting too old for this.

  • we took a few days away in estes park at the beginning of thanksgiving week

where i got to indulge in some serious reading and writing.

as part of my attempts to invite some slow living into my existence i have been

reading lots of poetry.   poetry is not meant to be read quickly.

on one of my trips to california i picked up a copy of

one hundred and one famous poems compiled by roy j. cook at the used

book store for three bucks.  i got lucky–  my copy was published in 1929

and is delightfully vintage.  however, i was happy to see that it has been

republished and the estes bookstore had it in stock.

i love the lilting, rhyming phrases of classic old poetry.

i only wish that i had known i loved it when it was offered in school…

i did pick up mary oliver’s latest release, felicity.

we also had nice weather and were able to take several mountain hikes–

it was beautiful.

  • speaking of poetry, i have been enjoying calm things, the monday morning blog

of shawna lemay.  her writing is impeccable and her photography soft and moody.

she speaks to the deepest desires of my heart, makes me slow down, breathe deep,

and surrender to the things in life that i know to be true.  she has a new book published

this fall, rumi and the red handbag, which has received critical acclaim.

it’s going on my holiday wish list.

  • you may or may not know that we do not have a tv–

it’s always funny trying to explain that to someone who asks if we have seen

a certain show or better yet, a commercial.

we do, on occasion, watch videos on our computer,

most often borrowed from the library.

i’ve actually watched two videos lately that i would highly recommend:

temple grandin, the hbo bio-pic about a truly remarkable woman

with Asberger’s who has literally transformed the practices in the meat-packing

industry as well as writing numerous books and being a professor

at colorado state university for the past 20 years.

what an inspirational story about overcoming obstacles.

i would love to meet her some day.

tell them anything you want, a tribute to maurice sendak, will leave you

shaking your head in wonder.

don’t be deterred by the hand-held camera work at the beginning of the video–

it’s followed by excerpts from interviews with sendak that is another story

of overcoming obstacles of an entirely different kind, ones that we just didn’t

know about this favorite children’s author.

  • i’ll close with this tiny tidbit–

a sweet little nest that blew down out of the russian olive tree during

one of our windy fall storms.

brandt brought it in to me because he knew i’d like it.

i love it.


it’s made almost entirely out of mane and tail hair

from our herd of gypsy horses,

with a little structural support from their hay.

it now sits under a cloche with some lotus pods,

a couple of mussel shells, and some wood roses–

gifts from the natural world.

thanks for being a gift in my world–


10 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    December 1, 2015 1:12 am

    Lovely pics from wonderland. I miss it.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      December 1, 2015 1:17 am

      I miss you, really and truly. It was a deeply nourishing time spent together! xx

  2. sageandspirit permalink
    December 1, 2015 2:11 am

    Your post is so full of life and love! It’s so amazing how differently we see things when they’re covered with snow….it’s a chance to fall in love with the beauty of nature all over again!
    And that gorgeous bluemorninglight….there’s nothing like it.

    So sorry to hear about your fall. Hope you’re feeling ok and thankfully nothing was broken.

    AND kudos to you for living tv-free! (I know I could never do it!)

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      December 1, 2015 2:22 am

      yes, yes!! the bluemorninglight!! the sky was a palette of blue tones that just kept swirling!
      no, nothing broke when I fell– good thing it was on a wooden deck and not concrete like the last two times.

  3. December 1, 2015 5:14 pm

    Oh Janet. I hope you’re alright. Healing from the fall. (That invisible ice! When will we learn!)
    I think I would look forward to every early morning feeding time on your farm. It is especially magical, the sky, the light in wintertime. I felt my own arms wrapped around the horses neck, my face caressing the winter hair…”there is no complaining, only joy that i have returned”–
    You described your wonderland, just exactly as it is. I know.
    Aren’t birds awe inspiring! My eyes welled up when you described that her nest was constructed out of mane and tail hair from your horses!
    Your pictures have a lot of love in them.n
    I read a quote one time…I can’t recite it exactly but it went something like this:
    If you want to see what someone fears losing, look at the pictures they take.

    Love to you guys from me & C!
    PS since you’re reading more poetry, I think I’ll send you one of his poetry books. 🙂

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      December 2, 2015 3:02 am

      oh, dear Lynn! the thoughtfulness of your comments always makes me feel seen and heard and warms my heart beyond measure! yes, I am doing just fine, nothing more than a couple of stiff and sore days walking a bit like old Festus!
      I must agree, it is lovely going out to feed in the mornings. the winter world seems so quiet and new on early morns, truly a world of possibility! these were all iPhone photos, as I really went out to feed and then just got carried away by all of the beauty!
      I have committed to indulging my love of poetry on a regular basis, and nothing would please me more than a copy of Chad’s, truly!
      a happy December to you both– three weeks until our precious daylight begins its return!

    • December 2, 2015 2:32 pm

      LOL at doing the Festus hobble!
      When I was little, you know, Gunsmoke days, I would imitate that ‘ol Festus’ walk so well, my whole family would gather around and beg me to “do the Festus!”
      Hahaha! So, you put a big grin on my face this morning. 🙂

      • sassysistersink permalink*
        December 2, 2015 11:54 pm

        ha ha– that makes me happy!!

  4. naturegrl64 permalink
    December 2, 2015 4:42 am

    Your snow is so soft and pretty, ours is tracked full of deer, dog and people prints. But like there, it has been COLD. I gasped when I read you had fallen, knowing of your breaks and long recovery, and I’m glad to read you are all right. So dangerous! But those early mornings are something aren’t they? I’m always out with the dog as the sun is just thinking of coming up, the owls still calling and the cold seeping through my clothes. Poetry is the best way of slowing down – I have done that at times, and you remind me I should take a few volumes down from their high shelf and spend quiet time with them again.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      December 2, 2015 11:51 pm

      well, Diana, our snow is now pretty tracked up as well as being quite icy with the beginnings of freeze/thaw cycles! always a good idea to watch the footing around here! we have to be careful of the owls in the early mornings when the dogs go out– they’re too small not to be leashed! and I am loving the early morning reading/writing time– it’s so peaceful and reflective and is making me fall in love with words all over again!

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