Wednesday, February 12, 2014

we prize any tenderness



Cats are skilled at finding warm places. Here Aji nests on moth-eaten sweaters tossed aside temporarily, (they now serve as yet another cat bed).

It's been bitter cold and icy for so long that I can't remember the last time I took a walk for pleasure. But there is bright sun today and so I will venture out, "go forth in winter" for a stroll before tomorrow's storm.

"If you are sick and despairing, go forth in winter and see the red alder catkins dangling at the extremity of the twigs all in the wintry air, like long, hard mulberries, promising a new spring and the fulfillment of all our hopes. We prize any tenderness, any softening in the winter, catkins, birds nests, insect life, etc."

 --Thoreau

I especially love the last sentence.

If you're wondering (like I was) what a red alder catkin is, see here.


30 comments:

  1. Hi Jen, The winter woods are full of life and motion, and with the summer layers stripped away, there is much of beauty and delicacy waiting to be discovered. Not only in living things, but also in stone and ice and flowing water.
    --Jim

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  2. Your cat is so cute. He has wonderful eyes and lovely colorful spots
    Greetings

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  3. It's always nice to venture out while you can. Heard this morning you're in for another icy blast. Keep warm!

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    1. Thank goodness I live in the age of central heat and car heaters.

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  4. This made my eyes quicken with tears. Do you often do this to me? I think so.

    Off to bathe, forsooth to dream.

    xo J

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    1. I think you just got something in your eye.
      Kidding. I know what a sensitive soul lies beneath the humor and kitties.

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  5. Oh what a lovely passage. Thank you.
    I see those long thick wormy things all the time but would never have thought to search out their name. Thank you again. :)

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    1. I enjoyed reading about them too.

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  6. Such a pretty kitty.
    Have you seen the movie "The Wall", an Austrian film? I saw it last night and the Thoreau reminded me of it. Excellent film!

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    1. No. Thanks for the recommendation. I love hearing about movies and books my friends like.

      A 5-hour Chinese 700 AD war film was recently highly recommended. Would never have found it myself. :)

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  7. aahhh!! I don't know why my comments aren't showing up? 3rd time I hope works.

    I noticed this evening that it stayed light longer...a small but hopeful sign.

    It snowed here today - so gently and everything was covered in white dust. I need to learn to love winter more. It really is beautiful.

    Stay safe in the storm. xo

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    1. I hate those comment tantrums. Thanks for hanging in there.

      We get 3 minute more light each day here in Massachusetts. In 10 days that's 1/2 hour. (Though I don't know how long it remains at 3 minutes.)

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  8. Jen...Thoreau always gets to the heart. I do try to appreciate each season and it's beauty. Enjoyed reading about the catkins. You so often challenge me to learn something new...many thanks. I hope y'all are weathering the storm...just lots of cold rain here...thankfully not cold enough to ice. Stay cozy...Susan

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    1. Catkins is one of those words I see once in a while, but when I was reading the Thoreau and it was so important to him, I couldn't visualize it.

      Hope you are still safe from the southern storms.

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  9. It's nice to venture out even when it is not so suitable season for walking.
    I've seen some red alder catkins, but have had no idea about the symbolization of promising spring. I love the poem.

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    1. You are right. I'm so glad I took that walk yesterday.

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  10. I'm cat sitting my own cats at the moment, and their favourite spot is under the covers with me :) stay warm xoxo

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    1. Oh, I love when the cats get under the covers with me!
      I'm glad you get to spend some time with yours.

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  11. I had no idea what those were called, now I know thanks to you. That is a beautiful last sentence indeed. I so wish for some melting though, we seem to have had a foot of solid ice for so long now I can't see anything but white out there. Coming down hard right now, you're next. My cat used to lie on top of the old console TV for warmth.

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    1. I really cannot believe how much snow NY/NJ have gotten this year and last. You are definitely now part of New England.

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    2. Last week they reported we had already gotten 40 inches, the norm for the entire winter is 20, as of now we've easily gotten 6 more and it's relentless.

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  12. Hope temperatures will rise Jen! Stay warm!

    Madelief x

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  13. Hi Jen! That is such a lovely quote. I thought I knew my Thoreau. Our winter is much more fair than yours. I need to get out more. Thanks for the reminder. I hope you get a break soon!

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  14. Yes, cats do always find the warmest places to snuggle down. If marmalade gets chance she snuggles up against me and is like a little furry hot water bottle.

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  15. Jen, the red alder catkin blog is very informative. Thanks for finding it. Happy Valentine's Day

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  16. My cat had stayed aloof from us except when nagging for food but recently he seemed to have found it comfortable and snug on my lap. He stopped being a lone-cat:)
    I 've seen Japanese green alders with thier hanging flowers. Thank you for introducing the poem. I like that. "Cat-kins" are easy to remember:)

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  17. my dearest Jen,
    thank you so much for visiting my new site. it's such a great thing to hear from you from time to time.

    sorry to hear about the hard winter there. we are having the mildest winter since I can remember and it's not fun really. very gray, very dark, very hummite, very little snow :(

    I really liked the Thoreau quote. What a wise man he was.

    I hope you've enjoyed your walk and the storm was not a bad one.

    love from norway

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