A Cold World After All

“Winter is coming.”  – George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones)

Growing up in Wisconsin, I’ve become quite accustomed to the snows and falling temperatures of winter.  Cold is just a part of life.

“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” – Sinclair Lewis

Mother Nature has just four seasons, and for those of us living in the northern regions, she has chosen late Autumn, early Spring, and all the months of winter to be cold, sometimes brutally unkind.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
– John Steinbeck (Travels With Charley)

Yes, we of the north must give the cold a certain reverence whether we want to or not.  When cold leaves, we know she will return.  Cold is waiting her turn.

And while the cold days and cold nights can truly try our spirits, sometimes extending days and weeks, the experience of inhaling Springs golden resurrection and beholding Falls dying reds and browns, delivers a sensory explosion to all the senses.  We of the north, I believe, develop a deeper appreciation for the warm days for they are indeed numbered.  We will not take any of them for granted.

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight.  At the sound of his roar, sorrow will be no more.  When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death.  And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”  – C.S. Lewis (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)

Of course, cold is not only a phenomenon of nature.  Cold can also bring with it an emotional characteristic.  The frigidness of human beings can be defined as cold.

“They call this war a cloud over the land.  But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say, “Shit, it’s raining!”  – Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)

Indifferent people can be defined as cold, looking harshly, stoically, at suffering and pain.

Cold can also be an unconscious face we wear when trying desperately to hide trauma.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not, and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The cold of nature and the cold of our countenance can create interesting sandboxes of metaphors for writers to play in.  It is one of my preferred subjects.  I can see people enduring life the way a landscape endures a first snowfall, or a sudden squall that coats the trees and grass with a veneer of clear ice, branches and blades sparkling like a still white sea beneath a cold golden sun.

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flakes, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam.  The crisp winter air is full of it.”  – John Burroughs (Winter Sunshine)

“Winter is the slow down.  Winter is the search for self.  Winter gives the silence you need to listen.  Winter goes gray so you can see your own colors.” – Terri Guillemets

Of course, there will always be those who remain unmoved by the poetry glistening in virgin snow, whispering magically through the steam from our lungs.

These types, I imagine, will share Robert Byrne’s opinion when he writes, “Winter is natures way of saying, “Up yours.”


The Crystal Crux – Betrayal by AM Werner is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook.

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