November’s Embrace

*A brief note of explanation to avoid confusion – This passage was written in mid December. Life being what it is (busy/unpredictable) I wasn’t able to post it until now. 

It’s night and the house shudders in the wind. Today’s snow has turned to sleet. Freezing rain is a burst of pellet spray against the windows. Something heavy thuds down outside. There’s a hum before the furnace kicks in with a comforting rumble but cold air still finds a way to creep in through the lath and plaster walls. For the first time this year I hear a plow pass by out on the highway. I miss November.

Normally by this time I’ve seen enough snow to last me the season. This year there’s barely been a dusting (until today). December’s brought a lot of rain mostly. It was a brief reprieve before the inevitability of a Canadian winter. The gravel drag of the plow blade as it meets pavement can’t be denied. I am nostalgic for November.

I don’t remember such a November. Maybe it seems singular in that every warm beautiful day stood in startling contrast to the rain and sleet and snow of Novembers past.  Along the lakeshore the wind that ushers in the end of autumn is stinging, bitter with the winter to come. The wind that came this November was silken and warm. It was still strong but smelled of clean earth and sunshine instead of the damp and rot of a dying season. What should have been skies of pale tones of cornflower or dead slate gray were draped in summer shades of magnesium blue. The light was such that the early sunsets of short autumn days came as a surprise. Rather than frost-bitten brown, the fields and lawns wore green velvet expanses of fallow, moss, grass, and winter wheat.

The night sky was the most remarkable thing. On clear nights, a low ceiling of stars blazed over head so bright I swear you’d think twice before reaching out your hand for fear it could burn in that cold fire.  The moon, in part, and in whole, was like no other moon. Early in the evening it rose as a titan figure gigantic on the horizon. Often crowned in a halo, at its zenith the light of even a sliver was bright enough to give pause. One night in particular, at its rising, the moon was a Cheshire grin of golden caramel scooped out of black velvet skin. By midnight the crescent above was hard white, so brilliant that the moon was outlined in a diamond silhouette. That night I dreamt I lay sleeping within a curved arm of golden skin sheened in silver light. I sheltered in that languid embrace until the break of day. When I awoke I swore a scent lingered in the linen, the crisp smell of fallen leaves and something else indefinable.

 

The wind is howling now.

It’s so cold and dark.

I miss November.

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Restless in the Grip of Winter

     On windy days, when the sky is full of restless clouds, a dark bruise crowns the line of pines and winter bare branches that mark the shore. A purple watercolour blush, it bleeds up into an endless firmament where the cold gusts and driven clouds devour it whole.

     It would be easy to believe that January and February are only made of driven snow and biting winds if winter did not throw us a bone of a sunny day here while the earth sleeps.  

     The rare sun in a cornflower blue sky festooned with puffs of giant clouds that swim through the air like white vaporous whales is brilliant. The light of sun and sky and snow dazzles so that the eye can weep tears of joy or discomfort.

     Those days never last. What dawns bright is shaded by evening. Over night Old Man Winter howls around the house shaking the foundation and scratching at the walls with tree branches, ice stiff and brittle. Often the new day finds another layer of white covering the fields and trees.

     Down on the shore the waves continue their ceaseless motion, building up layer upon layer of ice. The spray rises in the air, misting fingers of beach tossed driftwood and creating bridges that reach far out into the lake. Round floes bob up and down in the surf, concave saucers formed by the motion of the water and fickle heat of a winter sun.

     Against the skies of blue grey, black vees describe the geometry of flight. The croaks of jays and the peeps of chickadees are hushed by a flash of the hunting hawk’s red tail feathers. Only the mourning doves call soft and low in the cold winter light.

 

Foul Fowl and Fair

“Through the sharp air a flaky torrent flies, Mocks the slow sight, and hides the gloomy skies; The fleecy clouds their chilly bosoms bare, And shed their substance on the floating air.”

~George Crabbe

 

 

*This post was originally hosted on another blogging platform (MSN Space to MSN Live and finally WordPress). When the content was transferred the media files were lost. I’ve chosen to add new photos rather than delete the post. I try to match any updated content to previously posted comments. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t so the comments can seem to be out of context but I don’t want to delete any of them as they are a part of my blogging history.

Chiaroscuro

This stark season of chiaroscuro is leaf barren and ice crystalled.

A black-ice hardtop is a bleak gleam through transparent wind blow.

Arms and fingers, bloodless and naked, jet against the pallid sky.

Shadowy bones pierce the bitter shroud.

Lofty giants and flocks of lambs are laden down under the weight of hoary pearls.

Whisper soft, the night swarms with stinging clouds of raw alabaster ash.

The day wakes to the cry of the crow, black and mournful, harsh against the austere expanse.

Path of The Behemoth

     The wind is full of a coward’s bravado. The downdraft worries the snow into drifts and hollows as it struts and swaggers about lording it over the yard. Ever the playground bully, it browbeats the trees and pushes the last of the leaves to and fro above the white risers. Caught by surprise the icy draught stops, startled, upon hearing a distant rumble. Suddenly uncertain the frightened tempest turns tail to seek out a haven, safe from the looming unknown.

      All reason and sanity is cast aside as the cowed current rattles the windows and bangs on the doors to be let in. The ground trembles while the air grows heavy with a monstrous clamour. A metal juggernaut in shades of grey and gold, crowned by a sapphire gem, looms up through the sleeting white. Head down, its blind passage sends sprays of snow rising like crystal rainbows to shine in the wintry sun. Metal meets asphalt and sparks arc out to the side as its horn tears up the hoarfrost covered obsidian. The wind whimpers and cringes round the foundation, head down and eyes averted. The dissonance reaches a tumultuous summit only to fade away as terror lumbers off to devour the land further down the road.

     Danger passed, the wind emerges to take up its bluff and bully. Swaggering about the yard the frozen bluster kicks the drifts and hectors the trees but keeps an listening ear pricked up just in case.

Winter’s Herald

Condensation forms a new frame on the clear border between warm and cold. A puff of breath will fill the empty canvas now ready for smiley faces and backwards letters. The concrete stair, stiff and frozen, echoes the bleak sky. Odd shaped pearls of soft snow tremble in the lee of the stone, taking shelter from the inclement weather. An icy arctic river, bitter and wind scoured from the fields, flows across the road. Headlights carve a tunnel through the gloomy wintry night. The white wasps of cold sting and swarm only to fall behind impotent and lost in the inky vacuum of the light’s passing.

In The Shadows

 

     The wind is never ending, roaring and crashing, pounding like waves on a distant beach.  Invisible surf whips the trees into a frenzied dance silhouetted dark against the endless sky. Points of light flicker in a wild syncopation keeping time with the feral music of the heavens. The moon clad in rainbow corona sits a distant wallflower flanked by stalwart Mars and fickle Venus. The primitive rhythm, savage and free, is a reminder of the scope of all mankind’s rule and order. Egos laid to waste, minute and storm tossed we ride the crests and flounder in the wells unmarked by a massive ocean of ferocious time and chaotic tide.  Indian summer seems a distant memory. The ungentle dogs of autumn have come to savage the land.

     Feral and wild they travel in packs baying out a requiem for the passing year. Delicate shades of crimson and gold burn and wither in icy fires of frenzied onslaught. The bare limbs of naked trees bower a funeral pyre built up of corpulence, rain and wind. Ashy snow will cradle the ember, hidden safe from grey bloodied jowls and cold snapping teeth. The lullaby of winter will wipe the tears away. In sweet slumber wounds will heal and scars will fade until the light of spring rouses the sleeper. The warming earth will fan the flames and the phoenix will rise fecund and strong to take to the air once again.

     We are a small glimmer in the shadows of giants.

From Above

Silent

Silent                                              Silent

                 Silent                             Silent

Winter moon bright ice haloed

Lavender blue snow

                                                Silent

                                   Silent

                                                                                    Silent

                                                                                                                                     Silent

                                                                          Silent

                                                       Silent

 

 

 

Silent