Frissons of Winter…

Clad in Arctic gear, I gingerly wend my way with Andi to frozen fields distant, where an ice paradise awaits us.

Fir trees, straight out of an eerie Hopper canvas, hover on the periphery. They bow with ice-laden boughs, in reverence to Winter’s majesty.

Grass underfoot produces a sound filled not with vowels; a sort of scrnznkschy noise with every step. Each blade is sheathed in ice, as though one has stumbled upon a vast pasture of crystallized French green beans, a bag found in the freezer years later, hidden beneath yet another crystallized slab of indeterminate meat.

Andi is leashless. Sometimes I like to set him free, unfettered from the 20-yard line of rope that keeps us tethered. I watch as he frolics about, sniffing here and there, his part hound breed searching for unseen New England truffles. He doesn’t seem to mind the snow and ice. So far.

A lone crow sits uncharacteristically quiet on a barren tree limb, its perpetual silhouette a slight rent against the expanse of gravid gray skies.

Andi darts to a tree, and a squirrel makes a quick escape. Andi sniffs the ground, perplexed as to where this creature might have fled.

Atop split rail fence posts, an almost perfect circle of ice sits, a winter’s version of a sand dollar.

There is nothing quite like a slow winter stroll to take in the mastery and beauty of a December day.

I stand between grass and road. The tarmac is covered with a thin veneer of ice. I watch in fascination as the subsurface water trickles its way down a tiny incline, inching along like a watery worm, its form reminiscent of blobs from a lava lamp.

I stand still and embrace the silence. In the distance, a vee of Canadian geese veers towards swamps that hold captive naiads ‘neath thin ice.

Andi looks pleadingly at me. He longs for the comfort of our couch. Reluctantly I turn homeward, and he bounds excitingly, in his zig-zag fashion, knowing that soon he will be ensconced in cushions and warmth.

Within its myriad of daunting guises, Winter still can provide a soul frissons of both wonder and calm.


©Paul Grignon, 2013-All Rights Reserved.



6 responses to “Frissons of Winter…

  1. Dear Paul,

    I’ve always considered myself a keen observer. Yet, a few months ago, I came across a small field strewn with boulders – something that I had missed even though I had taken almost daily walks along that path for almost a year. Strange.

    I spied a man sitting on one of the boulders and approached him. I can be very friendly and am adept in breaking through the shield of ice that people – and especially city dwelling cynical Singaporeans – build around themselves. Within seconds we chatted as old friends.

    Yes, the boulders were planted there by the parks people a few weeks earlier – whew! It helped to know that I’ve not lost my marbles – but even then, it meant, I’d missed them for weeks.

    Therefore, I found your post interesting – how you took in all the little details and sights. Winter’s blanket is not all drab and uniform.

    Thank you, my friend, for sharing this.

    All good wishes,

    • My Dear Friend,

      Thank you for your humorous story about ‘Stonehenge’. It is amazing how we can indeed pass through the same path, for years on end, and not notice something that has been there forever. When I lived in Boston, I used to stroll down Commonwealth Ave, in the winter, when snow blanketed the streets and I marveled at the richness of the brownstone interiors, gilded and bright and filled with holiday cheer.

      But it was years later, when I found myself strolling those same streets, when I came upon some architectural details that I had missed so many years ago, yet they had always been there. I chuckled over that, shaking my head, wondering how on earth I did not see them prior.

      Thank you also for your hilarious ‘Brother Grinn’ rejoinder. Very funny, and I agree with Francina’s comment; that it is a pleasure to read YOUR replies to everyone who had written to you. A lot of work goes into your responses to people, and I’m amazed at your dexterous ability to compose such replies.

      Happy holidays to you, and warmest wishes,

  2. Wonderful stroll with your words and eyes, Paul. I enjoyed this little exploration of the everyday wonders we find before us, if we take the time to see. Your “fence-post sand dollar” was a perfect example of the layers that can be discovered in a sidelong glimpse. And I learned a new word! Frissons… rhymes with Grignon? 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I appreciate it very much. Yes, it IS amazing how much one can see if they really open their eyes and witness the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis.

      I remember one time, years ago, I was with my then girlfriend and her friend, and the three of us were walking at a fast clip on Hardings Beach in Chatham and suddenly I stopped and said, “Why are we walking so fast with our heads down?” We had just arrived from Boston, so we were still in city-mode, not attuned the expanse of sea, sand, and sky before us. It was a funny moment, but all too true; that, for the most art, people live their lives with their head cast to the ground, unaware of the ethereal wonder surrounding them.

      Have a great holiday season, and thank you for writing.

      Take care, Paul

        Paul Grignon Artist/Writer/Model/Mentor Blog LinkedIn!/paulgrignon1

  3. Hello,
    Great blog, thanks. I’m intersted in your immersion
    Did you read H.D Thoreau’s “Wild apples” ?
    I’m asking just in case. There’s a very slight chance that you haven’t _but if this was case you’d be intersted in a wintery conversation with this close neighbor of yours.
    Best wishes,

    • Hello Bertrand,

      Thank you for enjoying my post. I appreciate it.

      No, I have not heard of ‘Wild Apples’ but I’ll be sure to look it up. Thanks for the information on it.

      Take care, and have a splendid day!

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