We are in the deep heart of winter. This year, we seem to be having a ‘real’ winter after years of warmer temperatures. The temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic are currently into the teens. The crisp, brisk air is certainly a wake-up call from the unusual warmth of November and December 2021 and recent past years.
Spring brings thoughts of pretty pastels, but truly, the winter skies and light are pastels. The sun fights to warm the earth sending rays that seem far, far away. Instead of the brilliant color of spring, summer, and fall, the winter landscape is pale as if watered down with milk. I am grateful for each new minute of light as we head towards spring.
The pale winter sun and pastel skies give a backdrop to the skeletons of the trees. It is now that one can view the beauty, pattern, and grace of branches. Trees have remarkable architecture above ground and below. It’s fascinating and beautiful. I am eager to learn more about tree patterns and the mycorrhizal fungi that support our earth. Is the fungi a fractal? Perhaps it’s an odd question, one perhaps, only a mycologist can answer. It’s a question that has been haunting me. And, how does this pattern relate to other patterns on the earth? My understanding of this is only a tiny scratch on the surface of the recent research on fungi. The film Fantastic Fungi brings some of the science into perspective. Paul Stamets and his colleagues are heroes in this field and the entrancing book Entangled Life: how fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures by Merlin Sheldrake.
Deep in the heart of winter, I, like many other gardeners, are thinking of spring. It’s time to settle down with a cuppa and look at catalogs and garden plans and make lists of wishes. When I was growing up, it was canon to wait for the Sears Wish Book to look for toys. The excitement of turning pages and seeing toy after toy created a fervor in choosing what we might like to receive from Santa. It’s a similar fervor in looking at plant catalogs. I know I dream of where I can grow certain new plants in my garden. My garden journal has lists and prose filled with garden dreams. My laptop has many bookmarks of wished for plants. I am dreaming of warmer weather and of digging in the soil. It occupies quiet moments as I gaze onto the winter landscape.
The cold reminds me that it’s time to be patient. (Patience is not one of my virtues). The cold reminds me that the trees and plants are taking their time to rest and regenerate with new growth and possibilities.
Deep in the heart of this winter, I raise my hot cuppa to you, dear reader, as I look upon the trees, gaze in wonder, and think of spring.
What I’m reading:
- Descent by J.L. Jackola
- The Songs of the Trees by David George Haskell
- Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul by John Philip Newell
What I’m listening to:
- State of Terror by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny
- Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
- Angel’s Landing by Alice Hoffman
- Still Life by Louise Penny