Silver Lake and Little Monadnock in December light

Our gardens have gone into their quiet time, under frost, and, hopefully, snow. Nonetheless, I still find much that is interesting. Winter brings shorter days with its unique tangential lighting amplified by reflective white snow.

Silver Lake looks magnificent and large (without obstructing leaves) and glows like a gigantic sheet of aluminum foil. On a sunny day, the world seems bright and exciting. Tree trunks and branches casting shadows onto sparkling snow is as magical to me as my garden in full bloom (and no weeding required)!

Whenever I can, I go out mid-day and walk around my garden and nearby woods. I admire the puffs of snow weighing down branches, which I gently shake to reduce their load. It’s fun to catch the sunlight as it travels through ice and melting droplets, casting a rainbow of color like the most expensive diamonds. The chirping chickadees entertain me as they acquire their suet and take it to my nearby magnolia tree with its oversized grey-white, pussy-willow-like buds that say “touch me” (and I do!).

Greg has been clearing a path through the woods. We walk amongst the recently uncovered granite boulders while enjoying the crisp air and the crunch of snow and ice under our feet. We enjoy periods of silence, shared memories, and talk of our future landscaping and life plans. Our dog Kami energetically accompanies us. Afterwards, it’s time for a hot beverage and treats for all.

I experience a winter dormancy, not unlike nature’s. I think of the plants and flowers contained within the ground waiting for their moment to push through frozen earth. I hope this winter will provide me the time and space to dig deeper into myself. A few years ago, Yi-heng Yang, a chamber music coach of mine at Apple Hill, had suggested that perhaps there was a way for me to connect my garden interests with music. For a long time, I didn’t see a way to do this, but the seed was “planted” and has, perhaps, germinated. What if I could accompany my garden writing and photographs with piano music that I have been studying? My piano playing will not be “perfect”, but it is an important part of who I am. With a few keystrokes or voice commands, it is easy to hear the best musicians in the world, online. In the study of music, like gardening and many other interests we pursue, there is the constant, elusive bar of perfection. This suits my self-critical nature, though I have found it to be quite inhibiting. At this time in my life, I prefer to grow despite the associated risks and uncertainties. What better/safer venue than this? So with next month’s Musings, I plan to include the “Cello Etude” by Chopin. It’s a beautifully constructed piece with great emotion that I would like to share with you.

I hope there will be new “life” for you to discover during your winter dormancy. Spring vigor is so much more meaningful because of this time for introspection. I cannot imagine my life without it.


Amaryllis in Bloom – fortunately some flowers are breaking dormancy, even if just in our homes!


First Snowfall Sparkles


Blowing snow and excitement

Sunlight on an ice patch …..fireworks, to me


December sunrise