Solar Tracking

Solar Tracking
How low can you go? Snow and ice and cancelled school.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Willamette Valley Winter

MY Sorrow, when she’s here with me,

  Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

  She walks the sodden pasture lane.
        5


Her pleasure will not let me stay.

  She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone away,

She’s glad her simple worsted gray

  Is silver now with clinging mist.
        10


The desolate, deserted trees,

  The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

  And vexes me for reason why.
        15


Not yesterday I learned to know

  The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

  And they are better for her praise.


     
       This poem by Robert Frost perfectly captures the essence of early winter in the Willamette valley. Because of our Maritime climate and layers upon layers of accompanying clouds, we often never see a solid frost and the grass remains green all winter long. But, we do have the heavy sky, the faded earth, the bare, the withered tree.  Days when we walk to work at dawn, stare out a dark grey skies, and come home in the damp dark,  can be challenging. But we have two, often opposing, desires on these days.

       
     The first is to “hermit up” with a pile of library books, a new knitting pattern, and a huge mug of homemade chai. The cats love these days. They sit in front of the fire and purr, then walk over our heads and chase figments up and down the cellar stairs when they are bored.  I love them, too, and happily spend hours on the couch, staring out at the rainy day. The world is peaceful and quiet and I may bake English Muffins in the late afternoon.

            The other response is to go out and Embrace The Day. We walk the miles of trails that circle town for hours. Or we will head downtown, where we can stop for cocoa in the local coffeeshop. No day is so bad that a decent raincoat, a wool hat, and some cheery waterproof boots  cannot counter it—at least for an hour or so. Days that look dreadful from the window are often soft and misty once we step outside. Even a dank cold day can be beautiful, as the water beads up on spider webs and the clouds pass over and around the pine tree tops. The damp air smells of deep pines and woodsy mulch.  Fifteen minutes after we step outside, the world is perfect.

     
       Winter is our inward season and, for this first month, there is no outside work. We take the time to settle into our place, grow our roots, and be, inside and out.

Chai:

In a non-reactive pot, combine:
2 cinnamon sticks
4 slices of ginger (fresh or candied)
10 smashed cardamon seed pods
1 t coriander seed
.5 t peppercorns
.5 t whole cloves
4 c of water
Simmer for about twenty minutes.


Add 2-3 t of tea and boil gently, then add 1 cup of milk and reheat. Add honey—or not—and drink.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I miss this and look forward to it very soon. Here, even clouds are valuable. In Oregon, I never felt down about the constant gray until about March or April when that sneak-peak of spring happens and then the rain returns.

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