Suspension

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Winter is flirting with us.  She visits fleetingly leaving a sprinkle of ice-white powder.  She stays for breakfast, but by lunch she is gone, only a few rimy traces remaining.  Leaves are preserved in a sugar of frost crystals, giving clarity to their design.  Ponds freeze over, in clear geometrics.  The wind moans constantly.  Raw air freezes us.  But winter never quite delivers on her warnings.

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This winter has been very different to the last.  Last year the mud arrived and stayed for the season.  This year the frosts have come.  The glitter of ice in the mornings and that raw cold that comes as the day begins to die.  It’s been two years since we had more than a flurry of snow.  Our spring was bountiful, our summer warm, so it seemed we were destined for a hard winter.  But the cold has been interspersed with mild, sunny days.  The leaves took their time to fall and occasional flowers have bloomed through the season.  There’s still a chance of snow but it’s only a matter of time before winter withdraws altogether.

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Still, winter wants to give us notice.  She lets us know that she is a possibility, just before Candlemas heralds the first stirrings of spring.  On the day that winter visits, I see the first spring bulbs, thrusting through the snow-dust.  Buttery crocus flowers waiting to open and a handful of daffodils in green bud.  A day later, winter is gone and the crocuses have opened their whorl of petals. There are hazel catkins everywhere, featherlight fingers dangling.

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I’m in suspension.  Like a half-frozen pond.  Still and dormant on one side, unruly ripples on the other.  The two parts are in tension, caught between dream and action.  My box of dreams has germinated and the front runners have emerged.  I’ve honed the dreams into seeds, ready to be planted now Candlemas is here.  But at the moment, those seeds are like that frozen pond – paused.  I have no desire to do anything with them.  I’m waiting for that ripple to set them off on their journey.

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106 thoughts on “Suspension

  1. Lovely as always, Andrea. I get the clear sense of you waiting, but ready to emerge from winter’s frost in full vibrant bloom. Whatever creations you have germinating, they are going to be wonderful when that ripple arrives. Imbolc hugs. 🙂

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  2. I wish I could say winter was flirting with us in Ohio, but it’s doing no such thing. It’s coming on hard and staying. Today we were blanketed in several inches of snow. I can’t deny it’s pretty, and it’s what I expect in February, but your winter sounds more appealing. 😉

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  3. I swear, you made me appreciate winter the whole time I was reading your amazing post. Then, I see the wind blowing everything into the next county. And I see the rain pouring. At least I hope it’s just rain, I don’t have my glasses on. It could be confetti for all I can see. And oh look, there is the plunging wind chill bringing her sleazy friend, black ice. Can we invent a dance to rush along Spring? 🌺😀

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  4. So, Winter stopped flirting last night and got serious. And now, she’s in a full-blown campaign for a relationship. 18 inches of snow and still falling:). Sigh. She’s nothing if not persistent.

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  5. lovely Andrea 🙂 we’re having an exceptionally mild winter here in the Pacific Northwest. No snow, no storms (though they may yet come) and a lot less rain than we’re used to. However I have yet to spot a crocus so loved your pic.

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  6. We’ve got Old Man Winter wreaking havoc on the Eastern part of the US. Lots and lots of snow and ice. But I’m out of it because I’ve escaped to Arizona for a couple of months! Winter gives me brain freeze 🙂 Must be his gentler cousin flirting with you! Are you in the UK?

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  7. As always I like the way you tie nature to your creative life and life in general. Your photos are as gorgeous as your writing is evocative. Being in suspension is a difficult state for a writer. It happens to all of us. A little patience and engaging in a new activity or seeing different people help me when I feel in this unsettling stage. Hope that your winter will be rich in creative possibiliies again soon.

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  8. Andrea, your posts are always a wonderful combination of photography and elegant word pictures, but you out did yourself with this one. I wish our frost and snow would come for breakfast but leave before lunch. Colorado has had one bout of snow after another, and our biggest months for snowfall are just beginning.

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  9. We have primroses out in our garden – they come and go at odd times throughout the year … I have seen them in November – their ripples are somewhat out of synch, I think. Beautiful writing as usual, Andrea. Hope your energy bursts forth with the coming of spring and unleashes your ideas onto the blank page!

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  10. You’ve captured the feeling perfectly, its neither one thing nor the other this year (though we’ve still had all the mud). Snowdrops are everywhere and I saw my first pair of geese guarding half a dozen chicks on their route march across a field last week (so still in January!) so even the birds are receiving mixed messages about the seasons. Oddest thing was seeing a butterfly in flight, right past my nose, during December.

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    • Thank you. I haven’t seen any snowdrops yet, though they tend not to grow on my regular walks. I was surprised to see moorhen chicks in November and hope they survived, but it seems to have been a bumper year for them.

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  11. Beautiful photos, honey! It’s been a mild one across the pond as well, and especially mild for me now that I’m in the Northwest. I am ready for true spring though. The darkness is getting old for me. Looking forward to the sun being warmer and more light for a boost of energy.

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  12. Here in Wisconsin, winter just announced its intentions to linger with about 8 inches of snow so I’ve been reminded not to go counting any crocuses til they’ve hatched! Still nice to see an image of them and feel that little flutter of hope. 🙂 Best wishes for when the creative floodgates open — in the meantime, enjoy the peace!

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  13. Beautiful photos and thoughts. I love this-
    I’m in suspension. Like a half-frozen pond. Still and dormant on one side, unruly ripples on the other. The two parts are in tension, caught between dream and action. My box of dreams has germinated and the front runners have emerged. –
    I so want to emerge from this dreary torpor – we have had nothing but soggy rain all winter!! I’d welcome a bit of bright frost!! 😀

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  14. Where I live the winter rains have been suspended, so I was just thinking similar thoughts about our winter this morning. I really liked your words and thoughts here, Andrea…thank you for this lovely post. 🙂

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  15. Your writing is a delight to read. Yesterday and today we’ve had the kind of snow that is beautiful but not a hinderence. I love the way your winter is poised between still points. Your images draw pictures for me more real even that the photos. Thanks. ❤

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  16. Your beautiful post brings me back to all that I love about winter, and especially since we are not being assailed by all those horrendous storms of last year. I am delighted to see frost and breath in the cold air, it feels natural, orderly, right. And of course you describe it all so exquisitly. Thank you Andrea for bringing calm when I really needed to read this after the stressful time of late…and of reminding me that all the while, I am moving in the right direction, as the ice melts and the ripples keep moving. ‘Featherlight fingers dangling’…just so lovely…I love catkins 🙂 My bulbs are poking their green heads out too…so much llife to celebrate even if not quite in full view…I look forward to reading what is revealed from your Box of Dreams in the coming months to come Andrea 🙂

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    • Thanks Sherri, I hope you’re stress has melted away a little now. We had snow this morning so I was delighted, though it’s all gone now. I thought of you again yesterday, I was taking a walk through the park and suddenly noticed a robin sitting on a fence post watching me. He followed me for a few yards then disappeared 🙂

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      • Ahh…how lovely, I’m glad you saw your robin again! And thanks again Andrea for your thoughts and good wishes. I am feeling a lot better this week than last, at last returning to normal…whatever that is, ha! And wonderful you had snow, if only for a short while. We haven’t had any yet, still hoping 🙂

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  17. Andrea, those seeds are definitely ready to germinate! I am full of anticipation to find out what’s inside them once they burst. I feel that you are thinking about them a lot and I am sure that box of dreams gets lots of attention from you. For me, the beauty of winter is to enjoy the unhurried pace, but with an eye towards the awakening that always follows. Every passing week and later, every day, I will start to feel more restive, in tune with the harbingers of spring. Thanks for your inspiring post and beautiful pictures.

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    • Thanks Roy. That’s the ‘wooden dolly’. Originally she was a ship’s figurehead, down on the fish quay and sailors would carve pieces from her to take to sea for luck. There were various replacements over the years and there is another one on the fish quay now that looks more like a figurehead. This one is a fish wife and was put in the town centre in the late fifties.

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  18. A lovely thoughtful post. Thanks.
    It’s crisp and clear here today and cold enough to chill the cheeks.. But sparrows and tits are investigating nest boxes and that spring energy is just waiting to burst through.

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  19. Andrea, what an interesting take on this point of the year. I’d never seen it quite like this before as nature here by the sea is always about daily tides that don’t think in seasons.
    However, I’ve known the kind of Winter and suspension you describe and those frozen, half frozen, melting ponds. Ripple forth!

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  20. You’ve captured it perfectly, Andrea, in how it’s going this winter and how I feel. The dreams lie dormant though still feel a bit of stirring of life with the intermittent warmth and sunshine. So true with the feeling of having no desire to do anything with them. I have hopeful glimpses of creativity but, like you, for the most part I’m waiting for that ripple to set that off on their journey. Such a beautiful and well written post . . . poetic, actually, in depth and feeling. Thank You!

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      • Same here, Andrea, in waiting for more snow. It’s been unseasonably warm (in the ’70’s in Denver) teasing us for spring. But, I know there’s much more winter to come before I can count on that. Like you, I’ll enjoy this time waiting for the ripple to begin. Hope I’m ready when it does. 🙂

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  21. We’ve missed most of the heavy storms this winter, but it’s been colder than average and very gray. No early crocuses for us this year, I’m afraid. But the days are getting noticeably longer, and even if February stays gray, March should bring some real hints of Spring.

    I’m thinking it won’t be long before those ideas of yours avail themselves of the lengthening days and give you the energy to help them burst forth.

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  22. Andrea, I’m smiling at your beautiful photos of the natural landscapes you so kindly share with us! I think that inspiration will strike when it is ready and patience is of high value xxoo In the meantime, your beautiful words in this post are so appreciated!

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  23. Yes, I feel that tension too in this between-season. The crisp frosty days have been a blessing after last year’s murk, but the Earth’s energy is moving again. We are several weeks from crocuses here though, so it is lovely to see yours!

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  24. I like the idea that you’re in “suspension”. The picture are so beautiful. I’m craving any color but white or ice blue despite loving winter as the pull of deep hibernation is hard to shake off when surrounded by snow and ice.

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  25. I remember feeling this way last spring – frozen and waiting while also feeling the spring energy begin to melt everything away. The snow is up to my waist here now so we’ll be frozen for a while longer. 🙂 Beautiful photos – enjoy that spring energy!

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  26. That’s interesting. You’ve got crocuses and catkins and I’ve got none, yet you’re so much further north. I’ve had loads of frost, too. In fact, the ground has been extra hard this year, meaning that my last batch of parsnips on the allotment were impossible to dig up for a month, but were extra tasty once the ground freed them.

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    • You know I always thought we were quite exposed being near the coast, but I think the fact that we’re on lower ground gives us some protection. The crocuses are almost isolated – I saw two purple ones in another park today, but in the rest of the park just lots of shoots, so there’s obviously something about those sites that has brought spring a little early!

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  27. Winter’s frost is so pretty. It’s definitely a time for waiting and turning inward. We’re buried in about 4 feet of snow in the front yard. I had to shovel the front door out today. Just to free up an exit. Though If I must go out via the porch, I suppose I’ll just roll downhill through the 4 feet of snow. 😉

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