Sibling Assignment #176: Winter Grace

I gave the assignment this week. "This assignment is in three parts. First, choose a poem that you feel best exemplifies snow and post it. Second, explain why you chose that particular poem. Third, find photos you have taken that connect in some way with the poem and your own writing about the poem." You can find brother Bill's post written after a blizzard in Maryland here and sister Carol's will be added when complete.

I discovered and rediscovered a large list of poems about snow this week. Often the poems dealt with animals in snow, fun things to do in snow, or simply shoveling snow. I had never read this poem before, but this is what I like about it. With simple examples, the author speaks of the beauty of snow. I love photographing snow and think bare landscapes of snow and sky are simply beautiful.  She focuses on solitude. These is a quiet calm when I carry my camera alone in snow. 

I love the stark contrast of bare branches to white snow. It is easy to capture the truth of snow. It doesn't hide. Nature is always there. In melting snow we see what lies beneath. The garbage along the stream, the muddy creek, a dead bird, animal sign. The world is sleeping.  The world is growing under the ground, inside the branches, and in burrows and caves. Winter is hibernation and I really love her last lines of the she used the words  slowed-down season, darkness, solitude, cold, and night. Snow is a blanket of winter. It is a blanket that provides rest for the soul, a place to be along, a time for darkness, and pure beauty.   I chose a series of photos I have taken that married well with her words.

Winter Grace
If you have seen the snow
under the lamppost
piled up like a white beaver hat on the picnic table
or somewhere slowly falling
into the brook
to be swallowed by water,
then you have seen beauty
and know it for its transience.

And if you have gone out in the snow
for only the pleasure
of walking barely protected
from the galaxies,
the flakes settling on your parka
like the dust from just-born stars,
the cold waking you
as if from long sleeping,
then you can understand
how, more often than not,
truth is found in silence,

how the natural world comes to you
if you go out to meet it,
its icy ditches filled with dead weeds,
its vacant birdhouses, and dens
full of the sleeping.

But this is the slowed-down season
held fast by darkness
and if no one comes to keep you company
then keep watch over your own solitude.
In that stillness, you will learn
with your whole body
the significance of cold
and the night,
which is otherwise always eluding you.

Patricia Fargnoli 

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