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.

On Learning

Right, let's try this again.  It's astonishing how many times I've started something over the past seven and three-quarter years, only to be sidetracked very quickly by the CFS rearing up in an ugly way.  Sometimes it's probably a big hint that I'd be well advised to take, but I'm just going to put this lastest dip down to coincidence.  It has been a long, hot summer, and I did well to get as far as I did before the bad spell hit.  CFS and extremes of temperature do not get along at all, so I definitely live in the wrong corner of the world for this ailment!  These bad spells don't happen as often now, so they tend to take me by surprise when they do.  The fatigue and such are a constant, but feeling so truly awful is not, and it's still a bit scary when it happens. I've learned how the cycle works by now, though, so know that I should soon start to pick up again.  Hopefully that happens very soon as I have lots of stuff waiting to be done and it can't be put off for much longer.  The tomatoes are coming thick and fast, I have a few rows of beets to pickle yet, I've promised the man of the house a big batch of homemade marmalade, and a couple of batches of chutney are a must to accompany some of our favourite meat dishes over the coming year.  

Anyhoo, we've now hit the Labour Day weekend, which means that all of the junior members of the population are heading back to school in the coming week.  The summer has sped by for me, so I can't imagine how quickly it has flown for the young ones.  Best wishes for a great year to all of the students in my sphere, and to their parents.  Anyone want to borrow my alarm clock, since I don't need it myself?  *cough, cough*  🙂

Still on the learning theme, I came across this poem recently and it struck a chord in a big way.   I've always loved poetry, but tend to be stuck firmly on the "classics", so clearly I've been missing out by ignoring more modern works.  Note to self … get out of your rut!  

 

You Learn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure… 
That you really are strong 
And you really do have worth… 
And you learn and learn… 
With every good-bye you learn. 

~Jorge Luis Borges

Hope you all have a lovely long weekend! 

 

P.S. Many thanks to my utterly splendid daughter for the gorgeous new header, and also to the lovely Miss G. for leaving the first comment here at my new home. ♥