Sunday, December 13, 2009

Silver Jewels

We had a nice silver thaw (aka a silver frost) last night. I love the way the ice turns every blade of grass, every limb, every fallen leaf into a jewel. Although the skies have turned platinum and slate now, for much of the morning our land basked in sunshine pouring through a huge blue well above our house.

As the day wore on, these ice wrappings around the limbs began to melt and fall off the limbs. Icicles dangling from the eaves shrank and some shattered on the frozen deck. Juncos, sparrows, towhees, jays, chickadees and finches, swarming the bird feeders, dodge the falling ice as they feed beneath the trees. A couple of times now a red-shafted flicker has landed on the window frame, his tail propped on the glass, and peered inside the house with guarded suspicion while pecking away at whatever is interesting him in the siding. (We have a few mushrooms growing there, and/or there might be some bugs trying to overwinter in the cracks.) Normally I'd say ack, btw, but he's not drilling. Whatever he's eating, he's picking out very delicately.

Incredible morning, lovely afternoon, and as the afternoon wears into evening, an expectation of everything that melted turning into a solid sheet of ice. Again.

I like to include this kind of stuff in my writing, but I bear one thing in mind. As lovely as this is to look at through my window, it would be pretty miserable to deal with if you had to be out in the weather. I think it's too easy for many writers, in their climate-controlled (or at least not out in the open weather) to forget that being snuggled up inside a cloak on horseback in winter weather wouldn't be anywhere nearly as comfortable as sitting in a cushy chair in their house in a house coat, even if their office was a little chilly.

I remember, in particular, freezing my buns off within three feet of a substantial fire inside a stone building. Freezing. Could see my breath cold. That fire had no hope of overwhelming the very high rafters and the draftiness of the place, never mind warm up the ice-cold stones of the floor and walls that sapped the heat from the very air and any body part unlucky enough to be in even indirect contact with them. About all I managed to get warm was my hands and face.

So I'm happy to enjoy this lovely weather from within my nice, warm house and on brief, fun-seeking stints outdoors followed immediately by hot apple cider or hot chocolate with extra mini-marshmallows. My characters in this sort of weather ... not so happy. I'd even hazard they'll be downright miserable, though the more poetic of them might have to admit that it is beautiful.

Stay warm out there!

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