It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. ~John Burroughs

I have become reacquainted with my garden this winter. Several times a day, Pixie and I wander out into the snow and ice – she romps in the snow as I stand and study the details of the garden in a new way.

I have no real love of winter – I find it cold, uncomfortable, and devoid of color – and yet I can always find beauty when I take the time to look.
One of my favorite fairy tales is the story of the twelve dancing princesses. They would escape their room each night, traveling through forests of gold, of silver, and of glass, to dance with their twelve princes. Last week’s ice storm brought total quiet to our neighborhood – no one stirred on the dangerous roads and everyone stayed inside, safe and warm. Yet outside stood the forest of glass, a fairy tale vision of frozen crystals coating each branch, each leaf, each faded blossom. (click on any photo to see the full-size image)

A brief snowfall coated the branches, allowing the ice and snow to sparkle through the woods and the garden, nature bejeweled and magical.

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. ~Henry David Thoreau

Thanks to my intrepid lively Pixie, I left my warm fireplace to venture into the cold crystal beauty of the garden, and for that I am ever grateful. Each moment in the glass forest and garden felt magical, an echo of fairy tale romance. May each of you, my friends, wear out your dancing shoes as you follow an adventure into nature’s beauty, perhaps in your own backyard.

 . . . what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. ~Frederick Buechner

All photos and text ©2022 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved, except as noted.

30 thoughts on “Bejeweled

  1. That’s a wonderful wish for your readers, to wear out our dancing shoes on our outdoor adventures, following the muse. And you certainly did! Ice storms are the worst but you made this one the best. I’m glad Pixie is proving to be a good companion. I love the “ice drops” dripping from every tiny branch. Looking way up into the trees is lovely, too – I think you do that a lot, don’t you? Here’s to winter walks and cozy fires…

    • Ah, Lynn, dancing through life and the garden is an always present and living metaphor for me 🙂 Pixie is a wonderful companion in the garden, she lends me her enthusiasm and her longing to remain outdoors in nature as long as possible. I hope you are enjoying the change of seasons in your part of the world.

      • She’s a good influence. 🙂 I’m enjoying – there’s that point (you must know it well) where it feels hectic, there’s so much going on that you don’t want to miss. That’s a ways off, thankfully. For now, it’s a very slow unfolding.

  2. One of your finest posts. I very much like your quotes as well as your photographs and succinct descriptions such as a “forest of glass”, for one. Written with respect and appreciation for winter’s unique charms. I grew up with wintery weather and sometimes miss it. This filled a gap for me. Thank you!

  3. What a delightful to share in your beautiful woods with their snow covered tracery. You’ve captured it so well. The warmer browns of the remaining leaves match the darker tree stems and the snow covered branches so well. A lovely restrained winter palette. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Richard – the stark beauty of winter is certainly inspiring me. That said, I look at the gardens in Britain now and am enamored of the snowdrops, daffodils and other colorful spring bloom. I look forward to that unveiling of spring next month!

  4. Winter (in this part of the world) reveals the lines and underlying structure of things. I love being able to see the fractals of the tree branches. But I also love when the fractals are covered up by leaves, which have their own fractal patterns.

    Gorgeous photos of the ice on the branches – not easy to make such photos. Thank you for putting it into perspective – the last quote clinched it for me.

  5. Beautiful photos! We’ve been fortunate to be in Quebec for the last two months; here the last storm draped evergreens, bare branches, and mountain ash fruits with beautiful caps of snow.

  6. What a lovely post, and such beautiful photos of the snow. As I have always lived in warm climates, I only really appreciated the beauty of frost and snow across landscapes and amongst trees and fields when I started reading blogs. Magical, and the stuff of fairy tales.
    Best wishes to you and Pixie, I hope the rain doesn’t slow her down.

  7. Happy ice and sparkles to you (from a place that uncharacteristically got to experience it two Februarys in a row, and where rubber boots availed more than dancing shoes). The fact that you needed to go no further than your garden helped you get past your aversion to cold.

    We grew up with fairy tales of princes and princesses. Many years later I got to thinking how spoiled many real princes and princesses (and of course kings and queens) have been throughout history, and what a shame that folklore featured so many of them in starring roles.

    • Steve, you always make me laugh – rubber boots indeed! Yes, going into the backyard was easy in one way but with our hills in W PA, it can be tricky just to move around the landscape. True about the real princes and princesses – but that is the great thing about fairy tales – it is the ideal in our imagination 🙂

  8. Thanks, Lynn, for sharing these glorious photos! They are really magnificent snapshots of Nature They gave me an urge to write some haiku. Here’s what came to mind:

    ice-laden branches
    silent whiteness everywhere
    can Spring be so far

    Stay well and know Peace.

  9. Icy conditions can produce memorable imagery, as you’ve ably demonstrated. Heading out in the cold to capture them is usually the most difficult aspect of the endeavor.

    I gather that Pixie likes the snow?

    • Oh indeed, she is a snow puppy! Without her leading the way, I would never venture into a garden of ice but it wasn’t as difficult as I feared. So true – it is indeed so difficult to venture into the cold, especially for someone so emotionally tied to her warm glowing fireplace! Yet, the ice called me. Alas, it is gone, and now the garden is bare and signs of green growth is emerging.

  10. Lynn,
    The winter pics are gorgeous! You’ve really captured all that beauty that so often goes unappreciated.Thanks so much for sharing winter magic.

  11. What a magical adventure for you and Pixie, Lynn! That’s one of my favorite fairytales, too. I remember my next-door-neighbor and best friend drawing maps of the secret stairways under our rooms that would meet and lead us off to a splendid, enchanted hall for dancing! I wonder if children still imagine such things?

    Your photos are stunning, as always. I love winter, but not when she’s bitterly cold and slippery. Glad you were nimble and safe enough to capture this magic! Thank you, and joy to your week!

    • Oh Kitty, you are the first person I know who also loves that fairy tale. I can just imagine you and your friend drawing maps – how wonderful! I so hope that children still imagine such things, assuming their parents allow them the alone time to exercise their imaginations.

      It was definitely a risk to go out in the ice storm – I sprinkled sand over the ground to give traction and took my time, unlike my reckless poodle baby who galloped everywhere and took her slides in stride. Our weather is warming here, most of the ice has melted and we expect rain in the next few days, which will make the garden smell wonderful. Happy fairy tale dreams, my friend, and joy to your week as well!

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