Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Keeping winter interest-ing

It's safe to say that, as of a few days ago, I have officially reached the annual point where winter is starting to get on my nerves: the extra time it takes to brush the windshield, the requirement that one be fully gloved and scarved before braving the sub-zero windchills, etc. True, I have no one to blame but myself for this, having moved to the too-cold North from the too-hot South a quarter century ago specifically because I wanted to experience four seasons and see actual snow. Mission accomplished, and then some.

Despite my grumbling, I still love the sight of a snow-covered field or lawn. I love the magic glow of individual flakes in the light of the moon. I love to watch the stuff falling on the other side of my living room window. And just now, on an early evening trek to the frozen compost pile in the back yard, it struck me that this vast blanket of white we live with from late December through sometime in early April is a ground cover in itself. A design plan. A minimalist earthwork.

I've been putting more and more thought over the last couple of years into plants that will stick around, even if only in the form of stems and stalks, all year round, even on the coldest of days and the highest of snowdrifts. To that end, I'm paying far more attention to what looks good in other people's yards around here. A few winters back, I grew quite enamored of the red twig dogwoods outside my employers' last office complex. I planted one myself this summer, but it's a bit too young just now to make much impact--though I know I have that to look forward to in years to come.

in the meantime, I smile every time I gaze out at the various seedheads, blades of ornamental grass, and twiglike branches standing defiant in the front yard, and I anticipate adding lots more as soon as i can.


EAL said...

Great light in that second pic.

Ron said...

Thanks, coach! Yes, I'm constantly dazzled by the combination of sun, plants, and snow at various times of day lately, and sundown is especially lovely. Maybe even more so than in the summer.