Friday, October 20, 2017


This autumn, I have experienced some days when temperatures are barely 60, and yet the sun is shining from a blue, blue sky with very little breeze; or none at all. Such a day can be so beautiful, I have to be outdoors as much as I can be, to feel the weather.

I've also known some days with those same temperatures, and skies so bright and blue and mellow that, once again, I'm drawn outside to be there. BUT OH! I find instead a cruel north wind that slams like ice onto my skin and shuts my eyes against the beauty. The wind is all the difference.

That sort of day can make me think of an old English epic poem, The Vision of Sir Launfaul (James Russell Lowell). It was on a nasty winter day many years ago in elementary school, when I "met" the Lowell poem, and I worked to memorize a section of his poem that so well described how I had felt as I walked cross-town to school that very bitter winter morning. Here is part of what he wrote:

"Down swept the chill wind from the mountain peak,
From the snow five thousand summers old;
On open wold and hill-top bleak
It had gathered all the cold
And whirled it like sleet on the wanderer's cheek
                                 (Et cetera)
I have remembered those words. After I was grown and married, when my husband and I would walk outside into a bitter winter wind, I would quote those words aloud theatrically to him. And if I didn't, the time came when he would remind me! He hadn't met Lowell's words until I spoke them, but after that on bitter winter days, it seemed those words would speak to him as well.

Now that my Bob is no longer with me in this world, he will miss the coming winter, and I will have to speak those wintry words theatrically to Mick, my dog. Will he understand them? Possibly. 

After all, he is a very-short-haired breed, without an ounce of fat to warm him!