Tuesday, January 01, 2008

sotto voce

The farm has been hushed by snow.

I don't know how or why the snow fringed the sumac from below. I call that 'under voice.' (Click on image to enlarge.)

Pines and spruces bent with weight greater than their own.

This wild grape tendril has been holding this twig more than a year. It hangs over the path like a talisman to itself. The pine needles attached themselves this season. (Click on the image to see it better.)

Do these look like diamond rings to you:

The birds became busier.

Even a few honey bees whispered as they emerged from their tree home. I don't know why they came out. Although this one is dead, I saw one alive, stuttering across the snow.
Here is one of the loveliest poems ever written. I imagine it in sotto voce, like the farm under snow. It's by Wallace Stevens.
The Snow Man
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


astrid said...

This is a stunning serie of wonderful pictures, would I have loved to be only for a few minutes in this winter-world, the design and the lay-out of these pictures, is a top-job here, they get better and better Ruth, some way to start 2008 hope to see more of this in the future! Thanks for sharing, hartelijke groeten astrid.

Ginnie said...

A good Dutch word is sprakeloos, Ruth: speechless! I can't believe you had an extra 11 inches of snow yesterday (according to Don), and maybe more last night? It's a winter wonderland, for sure.

And yes, I love how you have put all these photos together. You're a real "designer." :) Some of them are overlapping on my page...this post and the last one, even though the last one was NOT overlapping before for me. Is it Firefox, I wonder? But I still get the wonderful essence of it all!

Amy said...

Beautiful images, Ruth! Sure hope I can see it all in person some day! Happy New Year and much love to you!

Ruth said...

Dear Astrid, thank you! I would love to have you visit, winter or spring, summer or fall. All are beautiful seasons in Michigan. Do you think you will come to the US any time?

Ruth said...

Thank you, Boots, and yes, I think Firefox is the culprit. Please try opening in IE.

When I left the house this morning for my first day back at work, I couldn't believe how already the world looked different since yesterday when I took these pictures! Even more quiet and sunk under the heavy snow. So beautiful.

Ruth said...

Hello, Amy! I hope you and Dennis can come next family Christmas! I hear you are back and forth a lot this week. Stay healthy. :) Lots of love to you, Nicholas and Dennis.

freefalling said...

Is this what a "winter wonderland" looks like?
It is so beautiful!
Hard to imagine the icy cold, when I'm sitting here in 106F!
I haven't been commenting for the last couple of weeks but I've been watching you!!
I loved your Christmas post!

I hope 2008 is an extra special one for you Ruth, and for those you love.
It's been great getting to know you over the last 8 months - I think you're terrific!

DrowseyMonkey said...

So gorgeous! The cardinals...a wonderful splash of red in the snow...just gorgeous!

Ink said...

It was so great to see you this afternoon! The picture of the grape tendril is just as you described it. And thanks for posting the Wallace Stevens poem! This "winterscape" is beautiful and worth the sore muscles from shoveling. Wouldn't it be nice if our lives were such that we could hibernate until the snow melts, rather than moving it out of the way so we can drive our cars to work?

Ruth said...

Freefalling Letitia, I'm so happy to see you, I've missed you. Thank you, I'm glad to give you some coolness - I can't believe how hot it is there! It's terribly cold here today: 9F/-13C.

I've loved getting to know you too, and I look forward to knowing you better in 2008. Stay cool!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Drowsey! I could not believe, I think at one point we counted 9 cardinals at the birdfeeder. I couldn't get them all in the frame.

Ruth said...

Ink, I loved seeing you too. I really love your idea of hibernating and not having to remove the snow. Brilliant.

iamnasra said...

Not having ever had a chance to witness the snow falling..these photo are amazing and having lived all my life in a desert land..boy I would freeze over there

Ruth said...

Yes, Nasra, I'm afraid it would be very cold for you. Now they tell us it will warm up a bit next week, maybe the snow will be gone.

swedehart said...

The poem did give me chills. What a beautiful start to a new year.

Rauf said...

oh i would love to make greeting cards out of these pictures Ruth.
They are so lovely and heartwarming.

i am not sure i would like that here. Staying warm is expensive. Heavy cloths are expensive, i don't think i can survive even one winter. Being in a tropical country is a blessing for people like me with no money. We have other problems like mosquitos and other pests. Everything thrives here. New diseases come up. Infectious deceases spread very fast. Now after seeing your pictures i understand how difficult it is for us to keep the place very clean and hygenic. Poverty can survive here with good deal of comfort.

i see the red birds who are equipped to deal with harsh winter and there is no need for them to migrate to warmer conditions. Humans used to migrate. the chief would issue orders its time to move.


It was already late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.

Since he was a chief in a modern society he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.

But being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"

"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold," the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.

A week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?"

"Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter."

The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks later the chief called the National Weather Service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?"

"Absolutely," the man replied. "It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen."

"How can you be so sure?" the chief asked.

The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy."

Ruth said...

Thank you, rauf. We probably should not feed the birds, the red ones are cardinals, I'm sure it messes with nature. I have mixed feelings about that. We love to watch them, but I know it's against the natural order of things, and they become reliant on humans to feed them.

The Indian story is so funny, I love it! I'd like to be closer to nature and understand it, be in sync with it. I really know so little.

Oh, and please use any pictures of mine that you wish, any time. You don't have to ask, I'd love it. And thank you for letting me use your Taj Mahal pic at huffing!

Ruth said...

Swedehart, I'm sorry I missed responding to you! Yes, the poem. Such power in words. I hope you're settling back in comfortably after your long drive.

Anonymous said...

WoW, WoW...this is a simply stunning view. I am just missing the mountains & the snowfall. I want to take a break now & head for the snowfalling mountains after seeing these photos...too good!

Kerri said...

Wow Ruth...these are extraordinary shots! And I love how you've put everything together.
Those cardinals at the feeder amaze me! What a beautiful winter wonderland. We have had no measureable snow yet this year...but I'm sure it is coming. Can't wait to take some snowy shots :)

Ruth said...

Kalyan, thanks so much. Would you go to the Himalayas?

Ruth said...

Thank you, Kerri. I didn't realize VA hadn't gotten much snow yet. Everyone else is getting socked it seems.

al said...

Fantastic photos. Congratulations and happy new year.

swedehart said...

Yes, but getting ready for another one!

Rauf, I can't go onto your blog without the Internet crashing, hmmm. Are you having this issue Aunt Ruth?

Ruth said...

Thank you, Al, Happy New Year to you!

Ruth said...

Swedehart, no, I haven't had that problem with uncle rauf's blog. Do you use Firefox? If I go on his blog at Firefox, it messes up the formatting.

lesleyanne said...

i don't think i even realized you had gotten that much snow!!! such beautiful photos, as always. you have captured the serenity perfectly.

Ruth said...

Thank you, sweetie. Boohoo, the snow's all gone now. But we're supposed to get more tonight!