Multiplicity

Multiplicity – a very large number (the simple definition) – from Merriam-Webster

A snowstorm quietly moved through western Pennsylvania earlier this week, sifting fine wet snow onto the garden and woods, snow that clung to every branch, leaf, and twig. An early morning foray outside revealed a magical wonderland, a multiplicity of shapes and forms delicately outlined in white.Lutyens bench in snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first inch of snow melted on pavement, outlining stepping stones.stonepathWP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An oak leaf on the driveway became a pillow of white against the black asphalt.oak leaf snow

 

Bronze leaves still clinging to branches held small tufts and caps of snow.bronze oak leaves

 

A loose hedge of forsythia was transformed into an ethereal cloud.Forsythia in snow

 

Ornamental grasses stood tall, capturing snow crystals in their curved inflorescences.grass gate snow

 

The straight lines of a bench echoed the bold trunks of trees.Monet bench in snow

 

The lower garden became a study in curves made up of a million tiny lines of black and white. I became lost in the looking, entranced by an endless multiplicity of growth and life stripped down to its skeletal beauty. Winter suddenly became as beautiful as any fair day in May.
February snow in the lower garden

 

What an amazing world we live in! A complex harmony of shape and form and line that changes from day to day, season to season, beautiful without measure.Snowy wood

All photos ©2016 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved

 

I’m Not Ready

It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready. ~Sarah Kay (American poet)

earlyduskWPI’m not ready. I’m not ready for Christmas, I’m not ready for winter, I’m not ready to wake each morning into the dark and cold world of late December. This morning, I awoke to snow and bitter temperatures under a dark gray sky and murmured to Angel “I’m not ready.” She sighed a doggy sigh and snuggled closer, ready to dream some more and pulling me in her wake.

MusicTreeDetailIt is no wonder that Christmas and many other traditions celebrate this time of the year with lights. In the northern hemisphere, the light of dawn comes late and the fading light of dusk comes early. With so few daylight hours and so many of them gray and dark, the bold and hopeful lighting of many lights is necessary to the human spirit and a reminder that the days will soon grow longer.

 

This year, our unusually mild weather icybranchesWPhas allowed me to work in the garden deep into what is usually a cold snowy month. I’ve accomplished garden chores that often get delayed until spring – the leaves gathered and shredded, the trees and shrubs pruned, the summer soil from the pots emptied into the woodland’s edge for building new beds. I’ve already planned next year’s garden – the seeds to start, the plants to order, the perennials to propagate. In fact, it is focusing on next year’s garden that has softened the sting of the coming of winter.

frostyspruceWPThe effects of El Niño are predicted to extend our weather into a long mild winter here in the mid-Atlantic states. It may be global warming, it may be a temporary weather pattern, but whatever it is, I admit that I will welcome a mild winter after the severe weather conditions that have prevailed for the past few years.

I’m cutting branches of pine and holly to decorate the house, I’ve strung many lights on the tree, and I’m planning the Christmas feast for our family, but in my heart, it is all about garden dreams – the return of nature’s light and warmth and new growth. Winter is about endurance of the cold and dark, spring is about the renewal of life. Today, I dream of sugarplums and spring flowers. Here’s to the return of light to the world and to your life- may you be ready for whatever comes.

christmaslightWP

December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory… ~John Geddes

The Lion Roars

March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb. (old proverb)

Zelda sleeps The month of March has carried the winter banner forward – snow, a bit of rain, and more snow. Bitter temperatures come and go – at least the garden is covered by a deep layer of snow, tucked in safely for the season. For most of us in North America, the winter has been long and difficult and I, at least, long for the return of spring.

Whiteout in the woodsThe garden is asleep, as witnessed by Zelda peering out from her wintry cap. (here is Zelda in warmer times) Snow whiteouts have become common, spectacular and ghost-like. The world is gray and white and brown but I am dreaming of color. To satisfy my need for the hues and vibrancy of the garden, I have begun spending the first hour of each day watching YouTube garden videos. They remind me that the garden season is not so far away and I am inspired to plant seeds, propagate plants, and dream of the days to come.

I am looking forward to the “out like a lamb” part of March. Warmer weather is predicted next week, so perhaps spring really is at hand. In the meantime, winter, however unwelcome, is still a beautiful season. (All images ©2015 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

The March wind roars like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver as he passes by.
When winds are soft, and the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb, then spring is here. ~Anonymous

Footprints

Remember sixteen – when all the world was new and a lifetime stretched before you like fresh snow just waiting for your footprints? ~ Peggy Toney Horton

dogprintsI haven’t been leaving many footprints here lately. Life took a decidedly inward turn in December as I began to treasure the last few weeks of my sabbatical, reluctant to share the quiet and solitary days left to me before I returned to the whirlwind of another semester. Punctuated only by a happy crowd of family and friends on Christmas Day, I spent those days reading, thinking, writing and walking and sometimes snuggled up to the fireplace with Angel in my lap. (She may be large but she considers herself a lap dog!)

Snow has been plentiful this winter, nature sharing her winter mulch in a generous way. And so I have been able to track the rabbit that sneaks through the fence into my garden to chew on the rose bushes, leaving my own steps behind. Angel tracks the rabbit’s movements with great interest but we never catch a glimpse of it, only the traces of its path in the snow. I have been feeling like that rabbit lately, making quiet visits to favorite blogs but rarely leaving a footprint. It was a bit of a shock to return to work after seven months of quietly pursuing my own path, but I have found my inner and outer balance again and suddenly find that I want to leave a few more footprints in my wake. A special thanks to those of you who stopped by here to say hello while I was on vacation.

A few footprints in my life. (All images © Lynn Emberg Purse, 2014)

A musical version of Footprints, with composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter performing live with Esperanza Spalding on the Tavis Smiley Show. Enjoy!

“I think that’s what we all want, in the end. To know that we left footprints when we passed by, however briefly. We want to be remembered.” ~ Mike E. Lancaster

What the Storm Brought

  • mounds of snow
  • playtime with Angel Eyes
  • breathtaking winter scenes
  • warmer weather and a thaw
  • the last snow storm of the year?

I woke up to a winter wonderland in March, every twig and bough coated with snow. By this afternoon, most of the six inches of snow was melting away. Ephemeral beauty; a black and white world in color.