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Oh, what a beautiful day…

January 26, 2015

I read this morning that the third Monday of the year is ‘officially’ the most depressing day of the year. That means today. So if you, like me, have found it hard to get motivated today, you have an ‘official’ excuse.

However, I do wonder who these officials are who dictate our feelings to us. Rather than allow them to decide the mood of the day, I thought I’d rage a bit against the dying of the light, and think of some of the good things about January. And anyway, as I mentioned in my previous post, the light is in fact increasing now, isn’t it? It is nearly Imbolc, after all, the first stirring of Spring. ‘As the light lengthens, the cold strengthens’, an old Scots saying goes; but there is plenty to enjoy at this time of year, even if more winter weather is on the horizon.

I love days when a morning’s snow stops falling, the sky lightens and every branch and twig in the woods is sketched in white.

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As snow turned to heavy rain a fortnight ago, the fields became waterlogged before freezing again. Frozen overspill from the lochan has made lacy patterns amongst the reeds,

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and the resulting large puddle of ice on the field makes a perfect, safe place for skating and general larking about: even the dogs enjoy slithering on the edge of it…

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…although the local residents are not impressed by their noisy visitors, and the swan shepherds the mallard ducks further away like an anxious schoolteacher.

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In the woods, meanwhile, where the last lot of snow has melted, the slanting light creates an enchanted forest:

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and the blue sky above the trees is a baroque fantasy of cherubic, puffy cloudlets.

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While ice has lain in places for weeks and more snow is forecast, the first snowdrops attest to the increasing energy in the earth. Their early appearance must be thanks to 2014’s exceptionally mild autumn. What a hopeful sight they are!

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Crocuses and daffodils are showing strong green shoots too,

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and the bulbs on the kitchen window sill are in bloom already. I planted them in an old vegetable tureen, surrounding them with fir cones and covering the soil with moss from a tree trunk. Flowering weeks before the outdoor ones will, they add their own cheery sunshine to the room.

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I hope these sights have helped to cheer your day a little. And I’ll leave you with one final thought. If those officials are right about the third Monday in January…then that means that every day of the year will be better than today. Which, however your day has been, is an encouraging thought.

You might enjoy the pleasures of a frosty morning, or the contrasting fun to be had in thaw.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. boyd permalink
    January 26, 2015 9:54 pm

    you are blessed again. we won’t see any snow drops for another 2 to three months. they are a welcome sight now though. thanks for you evocative photos

    • January 26, 2015 11:03 pm

      Your long winters must be hard to bear, especially towards the end. In 2013 our snowdrops bloomed in April, but that was weirdly late: they are usually February flowers in Scotland. Our spring flowerings have been all over the place in the past few years.

  2. January 27, 2015 5:56 am

    I love your indoor daffs, out house is too dry for forcing bulbs, they dehydrate rather than grow. At our place on the coast we tend to have snowdrops in either February or March, with the daffs outside blooming in March or April. So fun to compare the different climates.

    • January 27, 2015 10:57 pm

      It sounds like the pace of the seasons in BC is pretty much like ours. I’m not sure I could cope with the long cold winters of Alberta, though – especially if it meant no indoor flowers at this time of year! Still, I do think it would be nice to have proper deep snow more often here. As you say, it’s fun to compare. 🙂

  3. Toffeeapple permalink
    January 27, 2015 5:13 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, it was a breath of fresh air. Your trees are wonderful and the snowdrops cheering.

  4. hmunro permalink
    January 27, 2015 5:26 pm

    If I find out which officials are responsible for declaring the third Monday in January the most depressing day of the year, I will send them your (stunningly beautiful) post as proof that they’re wrong. Thank you for brightening my day considerably.

  5. January 27, 2015 7:54 pm

    What gorgeous photos! Especially the ‘enchanted forest’, the frosted trees and the snowdrops, a very welcome sight. Looks like the dogs have great fun on the ice! The papers seem to say this every year about some day in January, but like you I fail to see where the evidence comes from! Maybe the logical explanation is that Christmas and New Year have well and truly worn off, and we are all looking for signs of spring when it’s still winter. The days are noticeably lengthening now, which is SO welcome.

    • January 27, 2015 11:05 pm

      Thank you! What I find hard is seeing spring flower bunches and Easter eggs (!!) in the shops, which make you feel as if it should be spring: when, in reality, it is still a good two months until anything much happens in the garden and we usually have no greenery on the trees until the very end of April. Much better to ‘live in the now’ and enjoy the snow and frost when possible – and the lighter mornings at last.

  6. January 27, 2015 9:59 pm

    the anxious schoolteacher is rather endearing!

  7. Nib's End permalink
    January 28, 2015 6:35 am

    Ah, snowdrops. I’ll take them any time of year. I wish I had thought to plant some indoors as you did with your happy narcissus.

  8. January 28, 2015 10:54 am

    Beautiful photographs, thank you! I agree, we should appreciate winter as much as we can.

  9. cath permalink
    January 28, 2015 4:41 pm

    Note to self, must plant bulbs indoors to cheer up next January. No sign of green shoots visible in the gardens I pass on my walk though and with more snow expected for the coming days maybe just as well. This is a very uplifting post, thank you.

    • January 29, 2015 3:26 pm

      Every year I mean to plant more bulbs. If necessary I resort to buying them half grown, on the justification that fresh flowers are essential medicine at this time of year!

  10. January 28, 2015 5:34 pm

    Ahhhh…. my longing to live in my ancestral homeland strengthens every time I read one of your posts; this one having a particularly strong effect.

    Blessings to you and yours!

    • January 29, 2015 3:29 pm

      And to you, too! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Although, I should point out that this particular bit of your ancestral homeland is bristling with conifers from the New World: Douglas firs, redwoods, Chilean plum yew etc. ! They make a fine impression in the Scottish hills.

      • January 29, 2015 4:24 pm

        Now you are really pulling at my heartstrings! Ancestral homeland *and* familiar trees! :^)

  11. elik permalink
    January 28, 2015 7:17 pm

    but third monday of january was last week…

    • January 29, 2015 3:24 pm

      Oh yes, you’re quite right! The papers got it wrong and I didn’t check. Well, we can all feel happier now that it is definitely past. 😉

  12. January 29, 2015 8:12 pm

    Absolutely beautiful images. I do wish we had more of your snow – just a sprinkling for us overnight and this morning but all gone now. But I saw my first spring flowers today – some crocuses already in flower. I love your flower arrangement, makes me want to rush out and buy some!

    • February 2, 2015 9:59 am

      Crocuses already! How wonderful to see. Not much snow here now: it snowed most of the end of last week, but was blown straight past on a northerly gale and seems to have landed on our cousins in Cumbria!

  13. January 30, 2015 8:09 am

    Glad to have got that Monday over and done with. Certainly in my workplace everyone was exhausted – it was really noticeable, and I don’t think it was because they had been reading the papers. Just the frantic pace of work at the moment. Nice to have a glimpse of what’s happening outside for us office-dwellers!

    • February 2, 2015 10:01 am

      That joyless busy-ness of the office in January is enough to exhaust anyone. I wish you weekends of snow and sunshine and good family time.

  14. February 3, 2015 3:38 pm

    Oh, it’s so chilly and grey here, your pictures were very welcomed.
    It’s funny to me to see water fowl walking on ice as lakes very rarely freeze here – although in the 1800’s there are pictures of the shore line of Galveston with proper long skirted ladies walking on the frozen bay waters.
    Winter windows with bulbs are always so cheerful. (Spring must be close – the oak trees are about to lose their leaves and there’s pollen already…we can hope)
    Oh, I know you are in Scotland (and it’s a distance from this place), but this editor/blogger I follow is looking for help identifying a British mansion she saw when visiting the UK and the Devon area. If you have time, could you pop over and see if you recognize it? Thanks
    https://eagleeyededitor.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/blog-readers-can-you-help-me-find-a-missing-british-mansion/

    • February 5, 2015 12:37 pm

      Well, I wasn’t able to pop down to Devon, but I did indeed pop over to your friend’s blog and was intrigued by the mystery! Thankfully someone has already tracked down the answer.

      I love the image of long-skirted ladies teetering on the ice at Galveston. That must have been a rare event indeed.

      • February 5, 2015 1:29 pm

        Do appreciate your assistance. It’s nice to know people do have answers. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I can track down some of those old Galveston pictures for a post. Hope your day have some sun- we’re still cold and drizzling. (but some small weeds/spring flowers are showing up, so perhaps temps will get back to normal shortly.) thanks again!

  15. February 7, 2015 7:35 pm

    entirely cheered-up!

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