Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Came Early . . .

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Just a few days later
After photographing the chinese lanterns
For the first time (in previous post)
After discovering their existence
The snows came
To give them white coverings
While I lamented
The passing of autumn
Before its time
But even the cold crystaline snow
Could not put out their fire
So they shall be my emblem
In the coming cold months
These glowing magic lanterns
With a halo of snow
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Even on the smallest place of purchase
The snow crystals piled up improbably
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We hadn't had time to prune the hortensias
As we do carefully every fall
But the fall has fallen into the cold dark abyss
Of long winter nights
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A cold green steel fence caught the snow
Where I left our garden
And wandered off into the woods
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In the woods there were magical visions
Of snow barely clinging
To leaves not yet gone brown
A cruel winter who comes before her time
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I wandered further into the woods
On the winding path the wild boars use
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One red leaf hung on hopefully to thoughts of fall glory
Blazing reds and golds now buried in ice
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Despite some of your generous offers for Noisette's fur from the last post, as she huddled on the porch in the cold afternoon, she decided she would rather put it to good use herself . . . staying warm. Even the carnations here in the foreground were caught by surprise in the snow, almost ready for one last late bloom... frozen in the bud.
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42 comments:

Oakland Daily Photo said...

These Chinese lanterns draped in snow indeed deserve to be a talisman for the winter to come.

Stickup Artist said...

This is all right off your yard??!! How awesome! That photo of the woods knocked my socks off, not to mention the brilliant Chinese Lanterns with their snowy caps. I love the intimacy of these images, the warmth of spirit in the cold of winter. It is a difficult thing to communicate but you've made it look so easy! Every time I come here, it just makes me want to get back out there to see what is around the next corner...

C said...

what a beautiful red...makes me happy :)

Steve said...

Funny how a covering of white makes us appreciate colour all the more...

Dee Newman said...

You inspire me to bundle-up and get back out there and take some photos.

Roxana said...

oh, how lovely, Owen, such quiet, heart filling contemplation of time and beauty - and the song is the perfect music to go with it, deeply spiritual and dreamy...
here there is still a late, slowly decaying autumn of fogs and grays, so i am preparing for the cold and beauty to come through your images.

warm hugs :-)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh don't you know that I love the chinese lanterns...
You have our snow.. but that's ok , we don't need any yet.. we are sure to get our share sooner or later.. anyway you are making good use of it with these gorgeous sensual pictures!!!

James said...

I love this post and the photos are amazing. The beautiful frost covered leaves blow my mind. Come to think of it this post reminds me of my Newtown post.

It seems we are in the same state of mind.

Stay warm friend. :)

French Fancy... said...

Gosh, you are a master at laying out a post and photos for maximum impact, Owen - plus your lovely words are the perfect final touch.

I really enjoyed this

English Rider said...

Your weather is newsworthy and your photos heartening; bringing warmth to the cold.

Nevine said...

Owen, I've heard it's gotten awfully cold and snowy in France way too quickly, this year. It would appear so, from your photos. But those magic lanterns just glow with a fire that is far from subtle. Some life is persistent... despite all conditions... and that's a heartening thought.

How do we go so quickly from fall to winter in one fell swoop? One post we are in reds and golds and coppers... and the next, we are in whites and greys... and feeling both seasons as though they're happening simultaneously. It's true that if you don't love what you do, everyone else won't love what you do, either. So, that tells me (as though I didn't know) that you love what you do, Owen. And I love to come here and enjoy these offerings.

:-)

Nevine

Catherine said...

Your chinese lanterns now look like christmas hats. Ho ! ho ! ho !

The Sagittarian said...

You had best get knitting, that cat needs a warm jacket - might I suggest bright red, to match the lanterns? The lanterns looked like they had wee Santa hats on. Seems funny to see all that snow when we are gearing up for the beach...

...louciao... said...

Would it be just too obvious to pull out the old dog-eared text of Frost's poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Miles of straight jackets to go before you sleep, though, BrOwen.

The lanterns with their white hats are delectable. What a fine Christmas card that picture would make, if you were such a one that did such.

I am liking trudging behind you on the wild boar path, past the chain link fence, away from the unpruned hortensias. That sounds oddly British, not French, or even American...unpruned hortensias. But here I am chattering away when I should be mimicing the cold hush of these snow dappled woods.

For a moment, when I first saw the bare trees and the snow and the path, I thought that you were in my neck of the woods.

Yes, yes, I do like hanging out here, away from the hurly burly and organ grinders of Paris.

Elisa said...

Amazing photos you have taken. Like in autumn (here) when the first snow is coming.. Today we have -17 C and is getting colder (oh no..) We have no beautiful leaves anymore!

mythopolis said...

Wet snows like this are the best! The way it can cling to everything. Beautiful. Makes me wish we get at least one good snow here!

Springman said...

"I speak cold silent words a stone might speak
If it had words or consciousness,
Watching December moonlight on the mountain peak,
Relieved of mortal hungers, the whole mess
Of needs, desires, ambitions, wishes, hopes.
This stillness in me knows the sky's abyss,
Reflected by blank snow along bare slopes,
If it had words or consciousness,
Would echo what a thinking stone might say
To praise oblivion words can't possess
As inorganic muteness goes its way.
There's no serenity without the thought serene,
Owl-flight without spread wings, honed eyes, hooked beak,
Absence without the meaning absence means.
To rescue bleakness from the bleak,
I speak cold silent words a stone might speak."

Robert Pack
from Stone Thoughts

It is our thankless task, afterall,
to possess existence and lend it meaning. Your words and pictures are such an effort!

Olga said...

Your pictures are magnificent! I love the first one and the photo with a cat.

secret agent woman said...

My Japanese Lanterns turned to lacy little seedpods well before the snow hit. But my hydrangeas (hortnesias?) look much like yours.

secret agent woman said...

My Japanese Lanterns turned to lacy little seedpods well before the snow hit. But my hydrangeas (hortnesias?) look much like yours.

clo said...

Howdy cher Owen..:o)
Tes photos d'hiver précoces sont très belles.. tu illumines la blancheur de la neige avec ces belles couleurs que tu as su trouver même si elles ont tendances a se raréfier avec le froid ..
j'adore la poésie qu'il y a dans tes images..les lanternes coiffées de blanc sont extraordinaires..
j'ai peu laissé de commentaires chez toi ces derniers temps.. j’espère que tu ne m'en veux pas..
je suis quand même passée souvent mais j'aime bien avoir tout mon temps et surtout un peu de calme autour de moi pour m’arrêter sur les blogs amis..ce sont des conditions idéales difficiles a obtenir par ici..
tous tes posts ont été magnifiques,j'ai beaucoup aimé le tombeau D'Oscar Wilde les photos et l'histoire sont incroyables..et puis aussi cette découverte dans ta cour de ces magiques lanternes(alkékenge)chinoises que j'aime spécialement..
tu vois quand même que je suis attentive .. même si j'ai du retard, je suis :o)
le blues du chat noir est très bon aussi..et pourquoi les chats noirs ne porteraient ils pas bonheur.. après tout on pourrait changer le cours de leur histoire..
Tu as vraiment bien travaillé Owen..et c'est très agréable de se balader par ici.. même s'il y a de la neige sur le chemin pour venir..
je t'embrasse et je t'envoie tout le soleil qui a reparu depuis peu..et tu le sais le soleil du midi réchauffe les âmes et les coeurs..
bisoux a toi et a ceux que tu aimes..
a bientôt..:o))

Owen said...

Oakland C.,
That makes two votes then... I think it's a landslide !
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Stickup,
You are wonderful. You will probably want to put your socks back on though before you go off to see what is around the next corner...

But I'm with you there, it is going around that next bend, up and over the next crest, just to see what's there, that makes life worth living...

Owen said...

Hi C.,
Welcome, welcome, my goodness, if this blog can succeed in causing or spreading a little happiness in this world of ours, then I am tickled pink...
:-)
Color my cheeks glowing about the same red as the chinese lanterns...

Owen said...

Steve, the Rolling Stones said "Paint it Black"... here in France this week the clouds said, "Paint it white!" And yeah, it sure does set off the colors, colors which have usually long faded before it starts snowing around here...

Owen said...

Dee, that's the spirit... off you go !

Owen said...

Dearest Roxana,
I hope you are able to find time to go out and walk in the fogs of late autumn, dreaming, with that fine lens of yours at the ready, to record a few, still, poems in visual magic, as only you know how... With the waiting and the looking forward to more visions from the Floating Bridge, and the chinese lanterns glowing, winter can be endured and survived...

Owen said...

Gwen,
If you feel that your snow has been delivered to us by mistake, I would be happy to call the universal post office in the sky, and give them the right address... let's see, somewhere around the Bay of Fundy I think... and I think Moncton needs some also...

In any case, most has melted in the past day or two, but we should get more next week...

Thank you so much. Would love to see what you would do with watercolors, taking the chinese lanterns for subjects...

Owen said...

Hi James... staying warm is a real challenge these days... You are right, I think we were in the same frame... absolutely loved your geese in flight shot... out of this world !!!

Owen said...

Hi FF ! It's been a little while, but with kind words such as these, you can come back anytime you want ! How is life on that far northern island treating you ?
:-)
I hope your weather patterns have been more clement than ours...

Owen said...

Hi ER, well, it is amazing what a big bordel 10 cms of snow can cause here, and indeed, I think the glow of those chinese lanterns could light whole villages...

Owen said...

Dear Nevine,
You have the most amazing way with words. Yes, oh most observant one, I am trying to do what I'm doing here with large doses of love injected into each posting, trying to get them right, trying to pour a little soul into it every time, for it would not otherwise be worthwhile. I guess time will tell if it has any intrinsic value and lasting qualities.

But I can say one thing, if it were not for warm voices like yours coming back as echoes, as I cry out across the valley, I would have stopped long ago...

thank you for being there...

Owen said...

Ah Catherine,
You are welcome to come try them on for size, if you'd like to wear one to a Christmas party... this is from my new winter fashion line...
:-)

Owen said...

Sister Saj,
You do know, don't you, yes, I'm sure you do, that it is cruel and unusual to mention trips to the beach while your siblings in northern latitudes are freezing their little backsides off ? Hmmph, the beach ! Well, I hope an ill-timed gust of wind doesn't blow any sand on your ice cream cone...
:-)

So, you too would like a chinese lantern christmas hat ??? You will have to try one on for size...

Owen said...

Dear Lynne,
You certainly can write up a winter storm, when you set your mind to it... one comment like yours here is enough power to generate another hundred posts here...
:-)
Just don't let the local electrical authority find out, they may want to get you wired into the grid...

Love the Frost quote. Frost... how fitting, it has been quite frosty here of late. Yes, yes, many straightjackets to go before I sleep. Indeed, the straightjackets are flying out of here faster than frisbees at a hippie convention...

But yes, let's hush, and just keep walking up that winding path, to see where it leads, through the snowy woods, perhaps two ways may lead ahead, and we may choose the lesser travelled one, unless of course the wild boars are there, in which case we will take the more travelled one, by all means... wild boars are not good walking compagnons...
:-)

Owen said...

Elisa ? -17 ??? That's COLD ! Is that why this comment box has gone arctic white ? Did you leave a door open and let the cold in here ?

May you have many good ways to stay warm around you... Hot chocolate is always a good option !

Owen said...

Mythop, doesn't it snow much in the part of Tennessee where you are ? Perhaps you could do a reverse migration and head north to Canada...

But you are right, snow draped landscapes change our mindset entirely, of we are not accustomed to seeing the white stuff sticking to everything. But in this case it really was surprising, because so early in the season...

Owen said...

Springman !
There you have sprung a fine piece of poetry on us, man !

Had I a hat I would raise it to you and to Mr. Pack, who clearly packs a punch when he sits down to write, a real wallop. "To rescue bleakness from the bleak." Wow !

Yes, lending meanings, that is all we can do I suppose, ... (other than going out and sinking whaling ships and letting the air out of the tires of hunting safari range rovers, and pulling the plug on polluting factories by any means we can muster.)

Thank you for the excellent piece of poetry there, I "thoreau-ly" enjoyed it...

Owen said...

Olga, a giant thank you !

Owen said...

Secret Agent, ah, so I'm not the only one with Chinese Lanterns... and if they went to seed, perhaps there will be some new plants springing up in the spring... and maybe a bird or two will carry some seeds far and wide. I'm wondering if that's how ours got started, because I didn't plant them...

Owen said...

Ah Clo !
Howdy Cloudy Clo, qui apporte le soleil du sud pour nous rechauffer le coeur !

Te me fais un très grand plaisir là... même si tu ne passes qu'une fois par an, (once in a blue moon, as we say in anglais), cela me fera toujours autant plaisir... que tu as franchi les montagnes de neige et les étendues vaste de verglas pour arriver jusqu'ici, là j'en suis conscient du parcours que tu as dû faire, le courage qu'il fallait, la force pour affronter les loups affamés qui errent en bandes par les forets du nord... mais viens te rechauffer au coin de la cheminée là, tu nous raconteras tout après avoir bu du vin chaud et mangé un peu...

Oui, un grand merci Clo, ta gentillesse et tendresse se font sentir à travers ce message, ce message qui me semble aussi chaleureux que le rouge-orange des lanternes sous la neige.

:-) :o) :-} ;-)

Voilà, quatre fois bonheur !

Catherine said...

I heard you from here, Owen.... Now that I have a computer, I can answer.
What ? What ? What ? Do you want me to admit that I have a "big head" and your tiny little christmas hats won't fit me ? No !
I'm too modest angelic smile.
And, besides, I prefer receiving presents than looking like a Santa and being compeled to offer them...
Thirdly, and for the true best reason, they're far more beautiful in your garden than on my head !

I put Too Many Angel song in my post. It's perfect. Thanks.

Have a nice week.