Rime Time

Whenever the weather predictors forecast a hard frost, Dash and I plan to head outside for our morning walk a little earlier than usual.

I like to see the patterns and muted colors before the sun converted all that silvery solid water into dripping liquid. I think the cold temperatures must add to the olfactory landscape as well because Dash seems to find plenty to explore with his nose on these mornings, too.

One of the things I love about cold weather is the feeling of crisp air entering nostrils, waking up my lungs, and putting all of my senses on high alert.

Frost brings edges and textures into sharp relief. Suddenly, we see not an amorphous dusty brown leaf pile but each individual leaf and hue, every petiole, rib, and vein.

Winter is full of paradox… colors are muted but warming up as the days grow longer, the light can be dull or  bright, the air is gelid at dawn, and then sometimes balmy in the afternoon, causing everyone to start shedding layers… then rushing to pull warm clothes back on when the sun dives behind clouds.

After a spring and summer of profligate foliage and promiscuous flower production, and an autumn spent harvesting sugars produced by green leaves, the plants are spent and all that remains are their fibrous bones… beautiful, even stripped to bare essence.

Dewdrops dance as they freeze, leaving fanciful footprints or the carvings of light-footed skaters on windows, the metal carapace of an automobile, or an icy puddle.

[Thanks to the following photographers for making their work available through the Creative Commons license: Felix Meyer, Gabrielle LudlowBroo_am (Andy B)Marilylle SoveranAppalachian dreamerKjell Eson,  Alice Radford, and technicolours© 2017 Sidewalk Zendo. Reprints welcomed with written permission from the author.]

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