The bleak mid-winter

I don’t think we’ll see the sun today. The sky is grey, the air is cold, and there’s new snow on Mount Hallowell.


I took out the compost and found one rose blooming on the other side of the fence keeping the vegetable area safe from deer. When I tipped sunflower seeds into the bird feeder, two chickadees alighted on my wrist.

We’ll keep the fire burning, grateful for its warmth. We have fir for its heat, and alder, too. Cedar kindling to make everything catch quickly. Remember the rhyme by Mother Goose?

Oak-logs will warm you well,
That are old and dry;
Logs of pine will sweetly smell
But the sparks will fly.
Birch-logs will burn too fast,
Chestnut scarce at all;
Hawthorn-logs are good to last –
Catch them in the fall.
Holly-logs will burn like wax,
You may burn them green;
Elm-logs like to smoldering flax,
No flame to be seen.
Beech-logs for winter time,
Yew-logs as well;
Green elder-logs it is a crime
For any man to sell.
Pear-logs and apple-logs,
They will scent your room,
Cherry-logs across the bogs
Smell like flower of the broom.
Ash-logs, smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way –
Worth their weight in gold.


Later we’ll switch on all the strings of lights around the windows, the chili pepper lights around the front door, and make sure the candles are ready. No day in the year is darker but that means that tomorrow the sun will begin its slow return.


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