Tuesday, January 3, 2012

strange and beautiful

This is my eighth winter in New England, eleventh in the Catskills and we usually have tons of snow by now. Not this year. Not yet. And I don't miss it a bit. Digging out the car and the driveway, slipping on ice--the day to day of long winters is tedious. So I am enjoying it while it lasts. 

There were fine icicle formations in the Catskills Christmas weekend.

Usually by now the waterfall is frozen. At Christmas there were icicles behind it and along side, but it was roaring along, fueled by snowmelt from higher elevations. It's going down to 0 degrees tonight. I have a feeling next time I go it will be fully frozen.

It was odd to see icicles alongside green ferns. For some reason it made me think about Rachel Carson's The Edge of the Sea, which I read last summer. This beautiful passage is from the opening:

The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place. All through the long history of Earth it has been an area of unrest where waves have broken heavily against the land, where the tides have pressed forward over the continents, receded and then returned. For no two successive days is the shore line precisely the same. Not only do the tides advance and retreat in their eternal rhythms, but the level of the sea itself is never at rest. It rises or falls as the glaciers melt or grow, as the floor of the deep ocean basins shifts under its increasing load of sediments, or as the earth's crust along the continental margins warps up or down in adjustment to strain and tension. Today a little more land may belong to the sea, tomorrow a little less. Always the edge of the sea remains an elusive and indefinable boundary.

I was especially interested in ice formations on the ground. I imagine they form, then partially melt, then reform.

Clusters of ice, rocks and moss. Strange and beautiful.

I'm toying with the idea of starting a nature book group one evening a month at the store. It's an area I am well-read in, and there are so many wonderful books, essays and poems available. I put out free (public domain) poems that I've made copies of, in the store, and am pleasantly surprised at how many people take them.

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
                                                               -Robert Frost

A convergence of snow, berries, branches and ferns.


  1. Oh, it's going to be frozen...I like the first photo and the poem. You will have a weekend with fall of winter version. Keep warm, please.

  2. wonderful post Jen! and edge of the sea and the Robert Frost poem,
    "saved some part of the day, that i had ruined" ; )

    Happy New Year my friend
    all the best to your new shop plans!

  3. so pretty. Reminds me of the falls that freeze in Starved Rock Park in Illinois right by the Abbey where my dad lives..that place is spectacular in the winter, spring , summer and fall !

    - KAT -

  4. This is so beautiful Jen! I love the pictures and particularly like the Rachel Carson quote. She's going on my list now.
    I also can live without the snow and look at it like if we make it through another six weeks, we're home free.

  5. It looks so beautiful, isnt it amazing how icicles can form and the water still be running. Lovely patterns the ice has made too.We havent had any snow at all yet nor indeed many frosty mornings.I love frosty, bright mornings though but theres time yet.X

  6. I would so very much like to take part in that nature book group! A fantastic idea, Jen! I am surprised to hear that also in your area there is no snow and I perfectly understand that you are not longing for digging out your car etc. Still - I miss it a lot and I hope there will be some more days to come with snow fall! x Christa

  7. A love your convergence photo!! And I love that word too!!!

    Happy New Year, my lovely. It looks as though you've had a wonderful time!


  8. Such a beautiful post! I wish I could join your nature book club. It sounds wonderful and I long to pick up the poems from your shop.

  9. What a lovely post Jen! I would love to see a picture of your waterfall after its frozen. And the idea of a nature book club meeting at your store -- wonderful!!