The calendar tells me that winter has barely begun, yet I feel that familiar yearning for warmth, flip flops and arms full of fresh picked flowers and vegetables.
I step outside and throw my camera strap around my neck. Even this simple motion seems awkward, labored. The camera strap gets tangled in my winter layers, and lays clumsily on top of last year's blizzard crocheted cowl, (the product of candlelight, boredom, and a need to stay warm). My newfound (and well-loved) fleece lined tights add an extra layer of snuggly warmth beneath my jeans. My green Muck boots have been temporarily replaced by a cozy pair of snow boots.
As I head down the hill, the cold air bites at my cheeks. An unexpected gust over-fills my lungs, leaving me out of breath for a moment, a sign that I will have to work for what I want today.
I look towards the garden. Dormant yellowed and crimson grasses criss-cross an informal path, urging me forward.
In summer, this ritual is so much more natural. I walk out of the sleeping porch, raise my camera, and a poetic scene is mine for the taking: a newly blossomed hydrangea, an unfurling frond of a wild fern, a still intact robin's egg laying solemnly on a tuft of green grass, a turkey feather lending itself as art.
The woods beyond the garden bring forth an entirely different emotion. Here I see things I have carelessly overlooked in the summer: not one , but two stonewalls, (lining the back of our property), show me a texture and style I have missed in the overgrowth of summer's leaved bittersweet vines. I pause, thinking of the builder nearly 200 years before. Was this work something that brought them pleasure? Or was it a necessity…..marking boundaries of their property. I wonder if it was Prince Snow, (the builder of our home in 1830) who may have built the walls…..
Red berries snake their way high into the dormant oaks and lofty pines, adding a remarkable pop of color to the season's barren landscape.
Their vines are bare and show off in twists and loops….
It is here that we scavenged our favorites to create the rustic fence that fronts our garden.
As I head back to the house, the birds and squirrels are having a party….feasting on the filled feeders, and scavenging on the seed that covers the grass,
(we randomly scattered it during the snowstorm)...
The Maple seeds seem plentiful and tasty….
The fence picket lends a sturdy perch…..
….and the unraked leaves of autumn act as a makeshift birdbath…..allowing captured snowmelt to become nourishment……
As I head back in, the warmth of our home is a welcomed feeling….
….and I choose to use the motivation of nature to encourage a bit of creating….
….a snip of this…..
….a scrap of that…..
The colors of the garden are here year-round…..
They are hidden around every corner.
They lay gently across our hearts…..
…filling the gap of the true petal and stem….of ripened fruit and vine….
And they are a valiant replacement.