A Brief Taste of Winter

(So here is the belated post. Strange how yesterday these images had “empty alt attributes,” but today they don’t. It isn’t because of anything I did)

Winters finally showed up when it was supposedly on its way out. I wasn’t eager for snow, but when it finally arrived, I changed my mind. Snow is magical. It transforms the world, covers the unsightly, and makes it beautiful. 

It slows everything down. Or, if it doesn’t it should. Otherwise, disaster can result. Some people’s idea of the way to deal with inclement weather is to drive as fast as possible, so as to get out of it sooner. My preference is to get there safer than sooner.

I love snow silence. Snow is porous. There’s a lot of open space in those six-sided crystals, which absorbs sound waves. But it’s necessary to have several inches of snow to create that effect.

Western Washington finally saw a serious snowfall. We get one maybe every two years. That’s not how it always was. There was a time when snow fell in November and lasted all of two weeks. Then it might snow again in January or February, but as far as I can remember, it never lasted much longer than two weeks. This month we had one day of glorious snow, followed by days of rain which gradually washed away the snow.

I thought about not doing this post at all. I’ve already done winter three times featuring snow, ice, and saying good-bye to the season, so this post seemed superfluous. But when I posted my newest photos on social media, they garnered a lot of “likes.” Many people posted snow photos and they were all popular. These photos are quite different from the ones I posted before. 

Icelanders have some great words. Gluggaveður is one. It means “window-weather.” The kind of weather you’d rather look at than experience.

How white was my valley. No blue sky and sunshine this time.
Thinking of Robert Frost. “Whose woods these are, I think I know/his house is in the village though”

The previous photos were from the back of my building. The next ones are from the front, facing west. It’s funny how there’s always “more weather” to the west.

In recent years we haven’t had snow this deep. This is about six inches (15cm)
The many trees on the grounds are one thing I like about living here. This is the west side.
Some monster’s scrawny claw-like paw, full of snow. Snow is good for fueling the imagination.
A good day to stay at home. You can see how busy grounds maintenance has been. Why bother when warmer weather and rain will take care of the snow?
Bush of snow flowers.
There was color that day. The fern didn’t mind the snow, not even when it had cold feet.
Until this week, it’s been a warmish winter. My bulbs thought it was spring. The fern would be fine, but I worried about my tulips. How far down did the freeze go? Would they survive? If they did, would they bloom?
I wasn’t the only one who went outside that day. Walking, even one a gentle slope, was tricky. Thank goodness for the railing.
Some robotic monster with a mouthful of snow.

In Latvia mumming season lasts a long time, from late fall for Latvia’s equivalent of the Day of the Dead, though Christmas to February for  Meteņi. This video shows yet another celebration of winter. The words mean, “Don’t bark, village dogs.” I’m not sure what that has to do with winter or Christmas. I couldn’t find a translation of all the lyrics. There doesn’t seem to be much to them anyway. It’s just another excuse to dance and sing in the snow. It’s probably pretty obvious that this is another celebration of fertility, new life, and growth. I love this video.

I think “Kaladu” is just a meaningless word sung along, maybe something like, hallelujah.

The girl in the green shawl is wearing a necklace of “barankas.” They’re kind of like bagels, only smaller and much harder. They must be made for dipping in coffee, tea, or milk. While on my visit to Latvia, I told them how my mother used to love “barankas,” and would buy them on a string, just like in the video. So they brought me a necklace of “barankas.” I ate them all.

The sashes the dancers are hopping over go with Latvian folk dress. They are wrapped around the waist several times, and tied in front.

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