Tag Archives: winter

2099. Putting the garden to sleep

Haralambus (known as Harry) and Hughina (known as May) Pfahlert were well into their retirement years. Harry’s main interest was the garden. With late autumn approaching he had been busy tidying the garden so that at the end of winter all the back-breaking work would be done and it would be less of a hassle come spring.

Well dear, said Harry to May after two weeks of extensive labour in the garden, all is done. Everything is weeded. Everything is fertilized. Leaves are dug in or burnt and the ashes hoed in. Mulch has been spread. Shrubs sensitive to the winter cold have been covered. I might be weary, but I’m well satisfied. The garden has been put to sleep. Let it snow! Let it snow!

It was such a pleasure in winter to view the snowed-in garden through the living room window, with the log fire roaring away and the smell of cinnamon buns cooking in the oven. All done! All done! One could enjoy the order of it all and look forward to the chaos of new life!

It was such a pity that Harry died in his sleep that very night.

1888. I can’t think of everything at once

“I can’t think of everything at once” was Bella’s way of not only trying to find a reason for what happened, but her way of coping with the situation.

Dale had left Bella quite unexpectedly. One minute they were happily married, or so Bella thought, and the next minute he’d upped and left and was cohabitating with that floosy from the confectionary shop down on the corner of Shelley Street. Bella had no idea what he saw in her. And now Bella was on her own. The dividing of the matrimonial goods hadn’t as yet happened, but Bella was ensconced in the joint house and she wasn’t budging for the time being. Besides, it was winter and the house had a log fire and lots of firewood stack in the shed. She would cope.

On a rather chilly winter’s evening Bella discovered she had let the log fire go out. Dale had always set and lit the fire but she wasn’t entirely impractical. She screwed up some pages of newspaper and wigwammed some kindling over the top of it. That was when she discovered that she couldn’t think of everything at once. Dale had always lit the fire with his cigarette lighter. There were no matches in the house. Matches had not been on her grocery list.

Of course it was a silly idea, but Bella had heard since early childhood that primitive humans started a fire by rubbing two sticks together. She didn’t have a clue how to do it, and suspected very much that it wouldn’t work anyway. For a time she thought she would stay warm by wrapping herself up in blankets. She would buy some matches tomorrow. But then Bella thought of a solution.

She rolled up a sheet of newspaper tightly. She went to the kitchen, turned on the toaster, and from the element of the toaster she lit the rolled up newspaper. On the way to the wood burner with her burning torch she brushed past the lacy curtains in the dining room.

It’s always a shame when nothing is insured.

(Note: Today’s story number of 1888 is out of sync. That’s because a month or so back Story 1888 was missed – so this is a catch-up!)

1947. Seasonal Alphonso

Alphonso hated the Spring Equinox. It meant we’re heading towards summer, which is hot, sticky, and utterly uncomfortable.

Alphonso hated the Summer Solstice. It meant the hottest months are on their way.

Alphonso hated the Autumn Equinox. It meant we’re heading towards winter, which is cold, icy, and utterly uncomfortable.

Alphonso hated the Winter Solstice. It meant the coldest months are on their way.

Alphonso hated the weather on television. “They’re forever predicting bad weather. I’ll watch once they start being a bit more positive.”

1863. Late winter

It was winter – late winter – and Athol went walking. The trees were bare; the ground had mounds of rotting leaves.

Athol kicked the piles of leaves as he walked. It may have still been winter but a mellow breeze blew the loose leaves in swirls. Athol sat on a log and thought. Just before the leaves began to fall his world was a different place. He was secure in his job; secure in his family; secure in his life.

Now all had gone – no job, no family, no life. The world had changed in harmony with the season. There was no hope. He should stop pretending that things would return to normal. Things wouldn’t. He should try to move on – but how and to where?

In front of him was a broken branch. It must have snapped in a winter storm. The snapped branch looked like the head of a crocodile! Ferocious! Fearful!

Athol moved on; he couldn’t sit and mope forever. He kicked another pile of leaves. It exposed a little frog nestling itself from the winter. It was asleep. It was waiting for the warmth of spring. It would die once exposed to fierce winter elements. Athol covered the frog over with protective dead leaves.

He went on his way.

1543. Southern winter solstice

Jakob was cold. It had been a frigid winter. Jakob didn’t have much money and was out of firewood. The fireplace lay dead. The freezing outside wind seeped through the cracks in his window frames. He had covered the cracks with tape, but the wind still found a way. He was wrapped in clothes and blankets. He simply could not get warm.

Jakob had stayed up all night. Not even the bed had warmed. Jakob turned on his oven to high and opened the oven door. At least the oven heat should warm things a little. And it did. At least it did until the electric bill arrived and he couldn’t pay it. Then the electric company turned the power off.

It had been a freezing night. Utterly freezing. Jakob knew he would die. He sat in a chair and waited.

The new day dawned sunny and warm.

1507: Granny Suzanne

Over the years Granny Suzanne had skein after half-used skein of left-over wool. In her younger days she had been a prolific knitter. These days, with rheumatism and fading eyesight, her knitting output wasn’t quite so productive.

Winter was setting in. She knew that her three grandchildren living with their mother “just down the road” would be feeling the cold. She couldn’t afford to pay for their heating, but she could knit, albeit with effort. She would knit warm clothes for her grandchildren and their mother.

Scarves, gloves, socks, and woollen hats were the order of the day! A bit of red, a flash of blue, a stitch or two of green… The job was done, and most of her leftover wool was used.

The grandchildren didn’t tell granny but they hated the items. “It looks like we’re street urchins,” they said to their mother. They threw the woollen items away and went to thank their grandmother. But when they visited their grandmother she was sitting in her armchair, dead.

She had died of the cold.

1399. Seasonal felicity

Felicity’s name was felicitous. She was so full of the joy of life, always smiling, always happy, and eager to spread that elation to others. She cared about people too, especially those not as fortunate as herself.

It was no surprise when she was elected to parliament by a majority so huge that people joked that it must have been arranged by angels!

One of the things Felicity wanted to achieve was to make sure that no one went cold in the winter. “No one should have to suffer the cold during the harsh winter season,” she said, as she introduced a bill into parliament. And it got through! It passed! No one would feel cold during the winter season because they changed the official winter months to the hottest time of the year.

How felicitous is that?

Music 159: Early morning snow clearing

I remember it only too well in Quebec – early risings on freezing mornings to clear the driveway snow to get to work. It’s winter here in New Zealand now, but no snow like this. And of course, it’s not Christmas as in the picture – some place on Earth it’s the 4th of July!

Listen to the music HERE!

Poem 80: When birds begin to sing

When birds begin to sing
I know with joy that spring is near.
Somehow, this time of year,
the birds join up in pairs and build
nests, lay eggs in song-filled
days, feed, are never stilled lest
the fledglings leave the nest too soon.

Fresh things are everywhere!
Flowers bloom! Fruit forms! The air – it cries
new life! And butterflies!
And bees! Yet here, in my old, spent
winter of discontent
I must not not forget to turn
the page, the page, the page.

Listen to the poem read aloud HERE!

(Based on the Vietnamese Luc Bat).