A sketch from the studio window, and a poem I post in thanks for this brief interlude of beauty and silence.
comes out of the sky
like bleached flies.
The ground is no longer naked.
The ground has on its clothes.
The trees poke out of sheets
and each branch wears the sock of God.
There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
I bite it.
Someone once said:
Don’t bite till you know
if it’s bread or stone.
What I bite is all bread,
rising, yeasty as a cloud.
There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
Today God gives milk
and I have the pail.
Here is a sketch of our snowy spring garden—but it’s unfortunately not enough of a snowfall to “hide wholly from view” our newly delivered city trash and recycling bins, freshly painted by my husband and son with the house number.
Let the old snow be covered with the new:
The trampled snow, so soiled, and stained, and sodden.
Let it be hidden wholly from our view
By pure white flakes, all trackless and untrodden.
When Winter dies, low at the sweet Spring’s feet
Let him be mantled in a clean, white sheet.
Let the old life be covered by the new:
The old past life so full of sad mistakes,
Let it be wholly hidden from the view
By deeds as white and silent as snow-flakes.
Ere this earth life melts in the eternal Spring
Let the white mantle of repentance fling
Soft drapery about it, fold on fold,
Even as the new snow covers up the old.
—Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Still walking in velvet shoes here…
Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.
I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as white cow’s milk,
Than the breast of a gull.
We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.
We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.
In celebration of this shortest day, this longest night of the year, a sketch and a poem.
Reflections On a Scottish Christmas
The dark of winter wraps around us tight.
The lamps are fired, and flickering light
beats time to the fiddle as notes float softly down, like the years’ first snow.
While outside the window a blast of late December wind
whistles harmony to the drone of the pipes.
We push the old year back against the wall
so we can dance a jig for Christmas and welcome in the new.
A poem, and a sketch, for the new month.
The sun is nervous
As a kite
That can’t quite keep
Its own string tight.
Some days are fair,
And some are raw.
The timid earth
Decides to thaw.
Shy budlets peep
From twigs on trees,
And robins join
Poke through the ground
Like noses come
To sniff around.
The mud smells happy
On our shoes.
We still wear mittens,
Which we lose.
Here is a verse we sometimes say during Advent before dinner, or as part of our homeschool lesson opening exercises.
Now the twilight of the year
Comes, and Christmas draweth near.
See, across the Advent sky
How the clouds move quietly.
Earth is waiting, wrapped in sleep,
Waiting in a silence deep.
Birds are hid in bush and reed
Flowers are sleeping in their seed.
Through the woodland to and fro
Silent-footed creatures go.
Hedgehog curled in prickly ball
Burrows beneath the leaves that fall.
Man and beast and bird and flower
Waiting for the midnight hour
Waiting for the infant’s birth
Down from Heaven, onto Earth.
This image is available as a high-resolution print on 8.5″ x 11″ archival paper.
I never looked twice at this neighborhood house until I saw it mounded with sugary snow and dripping with icicles. Now it’s a storybook cottage, the home of a cozy cocoa-bearing fairy godmother or a wicked ice witch.
I saw this mysterious pick-up truck cruising through our neighborhood at least three times during the Snowmageddon. It looked exactly like he was offering landscaping services.
The snow transforms the ordinary into the magical. I came around the corner into the alley and discovered these DC trash cans, looking now like a row of fantastic rich desserts. Or maybe jolly gnome houses.
The sun came out today, so my daughter and I went to sketch the interesting heaps of snow in the alley behind the house. Well, it may have been sunny, but the wind blew snow continuously and exasperatingly from the rooftops onto our sketchbooks. My daughter had wisely chosen colored pencils; I had a pen, and the ink alternately froze on the tip and bled when it hit snowflakes. I have renewed respect for all painters of snowy landscapes.