A Visit from Jack

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Jack Frost
by Helen Bayley Davis

Someone painted pictures on my
Windowpane last night —
Willow trees with trailing boughs
And flowers, frosty white,

And lovely crystal butterflies;
But when the morning sun
Touched them with its golden beams,
They vanished one by one.

Old Man Winter roared into town with a generous gift of snow over the weekend, and it looks like he’s here to stay this time.  Which suits me just fine.  I’ve always preferred winter’s cold over summer’s heat, but have come to enjoy it even more since the onset of ME/CFS.  My heat tolerance is extremely low, but cold remains positively invigourating.  I’ll take invigourating any way I can get it these days!  The pain factor does go up several notches during the winter, but feeling less limp and muzzy-headed more than makes up for that.

Jack Frost also paid us a visit in recent days, and Alex captured some lovely frost patterns on her bedroom window, including the photo above.  Her window doesn’t usually frost up like that, so our old house must have shifted a bit again over the summer, creating a tiny opening somewhere around the frame.  The even older farmhouse in which I grew up had frosty windows galore, so one of my favourite childhood pastimes was to go from window to window, seeing what fantastical images were hiding in the frost patterns.    Living in isolation in the country tends to cultivate a very active imagination, so Jack Frost’s artistry kept me well entertained when it was too cold to play outside.

Autumn will always be my favourite season, but I also love the stark beauty of our winter landscapes.  We’re blessed with an abundance of winter sunshine in this part of the world and nothing is more beautiful than a fresh fall of snow, sparkling in the bright sunshine, with a brilliant blue winter sky overhead.   Nobody in foreign climes believes me when I say that being outside on a sunny -20C. day can feel absolutely wonderful, but it really and truly is quite splendid.  Bracing, but splendid.   -30 and lower, not so much, but even a deep freeze is tolerable if you’re bundled up enough and walking at a brisk pace!  Winter driving has never been one of my favourite activities, but winter walking is definitely on my favourites list.  Maybe it’s genetic imprinting from my pioneer ancestors, but there’s something exhilarating about bundling up and facing the elements head on.  I’ve been far too much of a houseplant over the past several years, so am hoping that I can experience regular doses of winter’s splendour over the next four or five months.

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