Category Archives: storybook time

In honour of our first lasting snow…

Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a mind to spend it by my study fire, instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights. … I took my hat, and, after four miles’ walk, arrived at Heathcliff’s garden gate just in time to escape the first feathery flakes of a snow shower.

On that bleak hill top earth was hard with a black frost, and the air made me shiver through every limb. … The snow began to drive thickly. I seized the handle to essay another trial; when a young man, without coat, and shouldering a pitchfork, appeared in the yard behind. He hailed me to follow him, and, after marching through a washhouse, and a paved area containing a coal-shed, pump, and pigeon cote, we at length arrived in the large, warm, cheerful apartment, where I was formerly received.

It glowed delightfully in the radiance of an immense fire, compounded by coal, peat, and wood: and near the table, laid for a pleasant evening meal, I was pleased to observe the “missis,” an individual whose existence I had never previously suspected.

~Chapter II, Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

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Apple harvest moon

On a mellow evening in September, I was coming from the garden with a heavy basket of apples which I had been gathering. It had gotten dusk, and the moon looked over the high wall of the court, causing undefined shadows to lurk in the corners of numerous projecting portions of the building. I set my burden on the house steps by the kitchen door, and lingered to rest, and draw in a few more breaths of the soft, sweet air; my eyes were on the moon, and my back to the entrance, when I heard a voice behind me say– “Nelly, is that you?”

~Chapter X, Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

It rained and it rained and it rained.

7 days of rain in a row. Not a constant downpour, but 7 days with rain in them is still noteworthy here. Love it! Those cool, fluffy gray days! Light sprinkles and straight-down showers with no wind – a rare occasion for umbrellas!

It rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old — three, was it, or four? — never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.

“If only,” he thought, as he looked out of the window,” I had been in Pooh’s house, or Christopher Robin’s house, or Rabbit’s house when it began to rain, then I should have had Company all this time, instead of being here alone, with nothing to do except wonder when it will stop.” And he imagined himself with Pooh, saying, “Did you ever see such rain, Pooh?” and Pooh saying, “Isn’t it awful, piglet?” and Piglet saying, “I wonder how it is over Christopher Robin’s way” and Pooh saying, “I should think poor old Rabbit is about flooded out by this time.” It would have been jolly to talk like this…

It was on this morning that Owl came flying over the water to say “How do you do,” to his friend Christopher Robin.

“I say, Owl,” said Christopher Robin, “isn’t this fun? I’m on an island!”

“The atmospheric conditions have been very unfavourable lately,” said Owl.

“The what?”

“It has been raining,” explained Owl.

“Yes,” said Christopher Robin. “It has.”

“The flood-level has reached unprecedented height.”

“The who?”

There’s a lot of water about,” explained Owl.

“Yes,” said Christopher Robin, “there is.”

“However, the prospects are rapidly becoming more favourable. At any moment — ”

“Have you seen Pooh?”

~Chapter IX In Which Piglet Is Entirely Surrounded By Water
Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne

A cold snap hit this week, with flesh searing temperatures reaching sub -30 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. Bundling up for commuter walks becomes an art – or an obsession. Dog walks become brief back yard visits, bare canine foot pads carefully protected by small felt dog boots. Nature manifests as the Adversary. Beware the traveller who wanders from the known path!

Accompanying a dog on a nocturnal backyard visit, I am distracted from the seeping cold by the stars’ silent vigil overhead. The calmness of the winter scene settles around me. A muffled crack! fills the air, and another. The sentinel row of spruce standing by a neighbour’s house is popping in the cold, instantly transporting me to the novel I am reading, featuring vivid descriptions of a storm of mythic proportions – a storm for a mythical land.

Stephen King’s recent gunslinger book, The Wind Through the Keyhole, includes storytelling of fantastical weather more extreme than what I am experiencing – a comforting perspective:

 The starkblast comes suddenly, you ken. One moment you’re warm as toast—because the weather always warms up before—and then it falls on you, like wolves on a ruttle of lambs. The only warning is the sound the trees make as the cold of the starkblast rolls over them. A kind of thudding sound, like grenados covered with dirt. The sound living wood makes when it contracts all at once, I suppose. …”

“The temperature can fall to as much as forty limbits below freezing in less than an hour,” Roland said grimly. “Ponds freeze in an instant, with a sound like bullets breaking windowpanes. Birds turn to ice-statues in the sky and fall like rocks. Grass turns to glass.” …

[T]he extreme peril of his situation announced itself in a series of low, thudding explosions. “What’s that?”

“Trees on the far side of the Great Canyon,” Daria said. “Extreme rapid temperature change is causing them to implode. Seek shelter, Tim.”

The starkblast—what else?

A Tale in the Snow

This timeless reflection has such a mesmerizing dreamlike quality…

To one who lives in the snow and watches it day by day, it is a book to read. The pages turn as the wind blows; the characters shift and the images formed by their combinations change in meaning, but the language remains the same. It is a shadow language, spoken by things that have gone by and will come again. The same text has been written there for thousands of years, though I was not here, and will not be here in winters to come, to read it. These seemingly random ways, these paths, these beds, these footprints, these hard, round pellets in the snow: they all have meaning. Dark things may be written there, news of other lives, their sorties and excursions, their terrors and deaths.

From the irresistibly titled book: The Stars, The Snow, The Fire
By John Haines. Published by the also irresistibly named Graywolf Press

Don’t these words leap to mind!? ……… “Winter is coming”…

A book I was delighted to discover lying about the house after my partner returned from foraging in the library, hunting down a quote from our old favourite nature fix – The Road Home.

Snow falling in the lamp light

A fluffy grey blanket hangs overhead; the air fills with glittering crystals; and a deep soft carpet sparkles below. The snow swirling around the park lampposts in the dim early morning light conjure childhood tales of Narnia adventure, or cozy Christmas movies.

“And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her; not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air….

She began to walk forward, crunch-crunch, over the snow and through the wood towards the light.

In about ten minutes she reached it and found that it was a lamp-post. As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her.”

~C. S. Lewis