Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


As the days become impossibly short and the cold draws us indoors, I think about times gone by when life was lived at a slower pace.

I thought I’d share this poem written by Robert Frost in 1922 that captures a reflective moment by a man and his horse on the “darkest evening of the year”.


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.    

My little horse must think queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


Happy darkest evening of the year everyone!

If you listen carefully, you just might be able to hear those harness bells.








I’ve Discovered That…



I’ve discovered that:

The pre winter dark is full of an unbelievable richness. It slows and quietens. Promise and hope live here.

The dawn light is the most important light of these dark days before Solstice. Being awake for the beginning of the day makes the days feel a little longer and whole lot lighter.

Snow brightens and softens the world. Children recognize this – and some adults.

Community gatherings are what make Christmas special. Go to Christmas concerts, The Nutcracker, Christmas teas and bazaars… We all need each other, it’s what makes life rich and meaningful.

Music and the dark season are inseparable. Attend carol services, musical events, put music on as you sit by the fire at night. Music helps herald in the light.

You can’t really overdo Christmas lights or candles this time of year. It’s a way for us to all hold vigil until the light returns.

Being present to others is a great gift to give: listen, hold hands, smile.

Worrying about calories is not a good idea right now. This is the time for feasting and inviting friends and family and people without friends and family to our tables.

Taking time for yourself, treating yourself, is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves – and others. Happiness is contagious.

Being in the woods at this time of year, preferably on snowshoes or skis, is the very best meditation available during the holiday season. Stop and look at the animal tracks, listen to the Jays, feel your connection to the natural world.

Cookies and milk are Santa’s favourite….and everyone else’s too.

Being active together builds the very best memories. Build that snowman, go to the rink, play that board game.

Believing in Santa long past when you were a child helps to keep the magic of Christmas alive.

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‘Twas in the Moon of Winter-time…Music and Landscape


I’ve been thinking about music and landscape during this dark time before Solstice.  Part of what has inspired me, these words from the Huron Christmas Carol:

‘Twas in the moon of winter-time when all the birds had fled,

That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead.

Before their light the stars grew dim and wandering hunters heard the hymn…

Somehow the dark and barren pre-solstice landscape  seems to call for voices raised in chorus. A woman in my December Reflections photo group seemed to feel the same way and began adding music scores to the pictures I was posting. It felt just so…perfect to me and I thought I would share one of these with you to enjoy as well.

Here is the photo:


And here is the music that she chose to go along with it.


It’s the seasonal message of light and hope relayed through music and landscape.

I remembered some of my old  favourite music after listening to this and dug out To Drive the Cold Winter Away by Canadian Loreena Mckennitt.









And this album from King’s Choir Cambridge.


Just feels right somehow to raise our voices in song at this time of year… or at least to enjoy others who do.











Happy Solstice Everyone!

IMG_2712.JPGWild roses in the pre-solstice evening glow.

Here in the country we are very aware of celestial happenings. Most of us can identify the different moon phases and know the kind of light they shed on the nighttime landscape. Full moons, for instance, mean that events usually held in the day can be held at night. In  the summer months there are full moon kayak excursions on the river and hikes on the mountain trails. In winter, it is snowshoeing or cross country skiing by the light of the moon. By contrast, on the dark of the new moon we know to bring a flashlight on any nighttime meanderings. And so it goes each month and through all the seasons marking the passage of time by the phase of the moon or the position of the sun in the sky.

One of the two biggest solar events of the year happens today. Summer and winter solstices are both very different but both really significant and worthy of  celebration. The summer solstice happened at 12:24 am EDT this morning and marks the day with the longest sunlight hours of the year. The word solstice itself is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) because at the solstice the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path (as seen from Earth) momentarily comes to a stop before reversing direction. The pessimist in us might lament that it is all downhill from here. (I must admit this thought always surfaces for me at some point on this longest day.) However, the present moment beckons and with it the giddiness of this day filled with light.

I will be at a beautiful country setting overlooking fields and a lake this solstice evening eating outside with friends. I will probably return home before day turns into night but what better way to mark the longest day of the year than outside with friends.

Every solstice since I have lived on this country property I have gone outside and picked  the flowers that are blooming at just this time. My only criteria is that they have to be wild and beautiful. I always pick the pink roses that bloom on our property and along the road. I combine them with the feathery foliage of  an annoying weed like plant which is as robust and strong as the sun.


My bouquet this year is not really up to snuff: the torrential downpours and gale force winds yesterday got to the roses before I did. But it’s the thought that counts. Right?

Happy Solstice Everyone!