The picture is where we used to live in Colorado. This is how it looked from November until April–snow coming down, snow stacked high. Winter would come and hold on for dear life, which is why this quote has always resonated with me.
About the Quote
Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best-known French writers.
You might be familiar with his novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, 1831.
I know this is not breaking news. It is winter and that’s what we expect.
I may live in Texas, but I understand about winter. I’ve spent many years experiencing winters in cold places like Colorado, Connecticut, and West Virginia.
What I don’t understand is what winter is doing here in Texas.
We’ve been in a deep freeze with temperatures below freezing for days. Ice shut the whole city down for two days. We’ve had multiple snowfalls in southeast Texas since the first of January for heaven’s sake. Okay 2″ hardly counts as a blizzard, but that snow included Galveston, which sits on edge of the Gulf of Mexico. That’s just unnatural!
The troubling thing is that winter is a long way from ending.
Spring doesn’t officially arrive until 11:15 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. As I wrote this blog that meant there were 58 days 6 hours 49 minutes 4 seconds until its arrival. You can click here to know exactly how long we still have to wait.
In my blog research, I also learned an interesting fact from Space.com. Winter is the shortest astronomical season and it is currently being reduced by about one-half minute per year. Spring loses approximately one minute per year. With the shrinkage, winter is expected to attain its minimum value – 88.71 days – by about the year 3500.
Summer gains the minute lost from spring, and autumn gains the half-minute lost from winter.
I like that winter’s length is decreasing and autumn is gaining the time. Fall is my favorite time of year. On the other hand, I’d have to live until the year 3500 before I see shorter winters. That’s not happening.
This winter weather reminds of the nursery rhyme my mother used to console me on rainy days when I couldn’t go outside.
Rain, rain, go away Come again another day Mommy wants to go out to play Rain, rain, go away
There are several verses using father, sister, brother, and family in place of Mommy. Mother would substitute my name and my siblings’ names as she recited the poem. I used the same poem with my children and grandchildren when they would be stuck inside on rainy days. It never stopped the rain, but the children enjoyed it.
Until spring arrives, join me in reciting the poem and substituting winter for rain. Maybe it will make the cold more bearable.
Winter, winter, go away Come again another day I want to go out and play Winter, winter, go away
The hustle and bustle of the holidays is over for another year. We’re settling into winter.
Old Man Winter is playing hardball with the poor folks on the east coast. Even here in Texas, we had a full week where temperatures didn’t rise about freezing.
Our little arctic cold snap only lasted a week, but it wiped out many of my flowers even though I had lovingly covered them. Plants and houses and cars in Texas don’t do cold weather very well.
Some folks thrive in the cold weather. For those folks, winter means snow and snow brings skiing and ice skating, snowmobile rides, curling up by a fire with a good book, and the peaceful silence of a walk after a fresh snowfall.
Others dread the winter with its snow and wild weather. All they can think about is shoveling, snow blowing, icy roads, and frigid temperatures.
I like winter with its cooler temperatures. I didn’t even mind the shoveling and snow blowing when we lived where it snowed. I avoid icy roads by huddling inside with a roaring fire and a good book. And, I positively love the aroma of a good soup or stew simmering in the crock pot on a chilly day.
Another thing I like about winter is the slower pace.
Animals are hibernating, trees have shed their leaves, and daylight hours are shorter. Nature beds down for winter, storing energy for spring.
Perhaps we should mimic Mother Nature and use wintertime to renew ourselves. Get more sleep, read more books, and eat good soups. Take a step back from busyness and noisy days to replenish our spirit in the quiet and calm of winter.
I’m thinking if we did, the arrival of spring would likely find us refreshed and energized ready for its promise and possibilities.
Even before words became my trade, they fascinated me. I was one of those weird kids who actually looked forward to vocabulary lists and looking up all those meanings.
I loved spending the night with my BFF in high school because her father challenged us at breakfast with a new word for the day. One of Mr. C’s words was ratiocinate.
Now, I have to admit that I didn’t use ratiocinate much except when my children were younger. During my children’s heated arguments, I’d say, “Let’s keep the ratiocinating to a dull roar.” Hearing the big would quiet the raised voices until they caught on. Even now the word comes to mind more than you’d think.
Btw, ratiocinate means to reason or argue rationally. ORIGIN, according to Dictionary.com: 1635-45; < Latin ratiōcinātus past participle of ratiōcinārī to reckon, calculate, conclude, verbal derivative of ratiō reason
As I write my stories and blogs, I try to not to repeat the same words over and over. My thesaurus paperback is well worn and tea stained. I think I’m on my third or fourth copy. My fingers will automatically go to Shift F7 so Microsoft Word can instantly bring up their embedded thesaurus. Other times I go to Thesaurus.com to come up appropriate synonyms.
Lately I’ve been overusing wintery words like cold, frosty, frozen, icy, chilly, winter, hibernate to name a few. Who doesn’t with the wintery weather plummeting the country? Does your backyard look like this? Mine does.
I headed to my trusted sources and found some alternates for the overused words. How about these?
Hibernaculum instead of hibernate ORIGIN: 1690-1700; from Latin: winter residence
Gelid instead of icy ORIGIN: c.1600 from Latin gelidus icy cold, from gelu frost
Frore instead of frozen ORIGIN: 1200-50; Middle English froren past participle of Old English frēosan to freeze
Just think about it, Disney could have used Frore for the title of their popular movie, FROZEN.
Hiemal instead of winter ORIGIN: “pertaining to winter,” 1550s, from Latin hiems “winter”
Algid instead of cold ORIGIN: 1620-30 from Latin algidus, from algēre to be cold
I’m wondering how my newfound wintry words will work on social media or in my current work in progress. Do you think the new words will work?
If you shook your head, I think you’re correct.
There are so many, many wonderful words in dictionaries and thesauruses. Unfortunately, we use them less and less because of texting and tweeting.
My BFF’s father Mr. C would be so sad to see how we’re wasting words.
My internal body clock is set for early morning wakeups. Time zones don’t matter. With or without an alarm, I’m up and moving before the sun crests the horizon.
For me, it’s not a problem. I love getting up at the crack of dawn and walking the dogs in the still of daybreak.
Living in suburban Houston, I didn’t worry about walking in the dark. Streetlights lit my way.
Now that I live in the forest in a state that supports a night sky (meaning streetlights are limited and rare), walking in the dark is a different story. Too many critters like the twilight hours for their prowling.
So before I leave the house, I check on weather.com for local sunrise time and start walking about ten minutes before or just as the sky begins to lighten.
On a recent walk, I spotted sure signs that summer is ending and fall is in the air.
First, shadows are changing. You can see what I mean in this photo.
Another clue—temperatures are dropping. This morning it was 42 degrees. The scent of wood burning in fireplaces hovered around some cabins.
For those of you facing triple digit highs, I’m sure that sounds heavenly. Truthfully, it was chilly. I was thankful for my gloves and hooded jacket.
Another hint is our shrinking population. South Fork is a summer tourist town. Our numbers swell from three hundred year round to 3,000-4,000 during May, June, July and August. RV parks are emptying. Shutters cover windows of summer cabins. The exodus has begun. Summer folk are heading home.
The absolute confirmation that winter is heading our way is found in the Aspens along our walking route.
Yep. That’s yellow among the green. The Aspens are turning.
Fall is on the way, which means wildlife is on the move scavenging for food.
Bears have started their annual bulk up for hibernation and need 12,000 calories a day. That means lots of overturned trash and destroyed barbeque grills. Time to seriously heed the signs posted all along our walk.