“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

Usually if I wake up, I fall back to sleep, but not this morning. I had no idea of the time as the clock in my room doesn’t work, and I haven’t felt the need to replace it. It was still really dark, but I got up anyway. The house was cold. I got downstairs, turned up the heat and made coffee. It was 4:30. The animals went right back to sleep. Fern and Gracie are on the couch and Maddie is on the table. Such lives they lead!

Winter begins in earnest at 6:15 this morning. The Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position, and tonight will be the longest night of the year. It’s the winter solstice. All the cold and snow before today has merely been a dress rehearsal. I have one sparkler left, and it will be my simple celebration on the deck to chase away the darkness.

I always think dark mornings in winter are the quietest times of day. Most people have yet to stir and few cars are on the road. My favorite memory of walking in the stillness of a dark morning was going to church one Christmas day with my brother. Our footsteps echoed in the quiet and we could see our breaths. We even whispered. A few of the houses were bright with light and through the windows we could see Christmas trees blazing with color. Our guess was little kids just couldn’t wait any longer.

I have a vivid memory of that dark morning. I remember how cold it was walking around the field below my street, and how glad I was to be where houses on both sides protected us from the wind. We crossed the railroad tracks, and the streetlights lit our way. When we got inside the church, we could hear the radiators, but the church still had a chill. Only the side altar was bright with light. A few of us sat in the front two pews. The priest said the mass without an altar boy. There was no sermon. The mass was over quickly. We hurried home.

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26 Comments on ““A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    I thought You were a bit early today 🙂 I went to bed earlier than usual and slept longer than I usually do too, perhaps I stole Your sleep 🙂

    Winter mornings are so quiet, especially if there is new snow on the ground. I can’t remember it being quiet when growing up in the city but of course it must have been since I’m up so early, but here it’s the standard. Some days it’s so quiet that I can hear myself breathing and it sort of shouts in my ears 🙂

    No signs of the end so far but the day is still young 🙂 I’m at home today and I’m missing the yule board they are having at work right now and the present but I’ll get that one after yule as long as it isn’t food of course. If so I’d rather skip it 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      Perhaps you were taking advantage of your first day of vacation!! Don’t worry-I know I’ll be taking a nap at some point.

      Snowy winter mornings are even quieter than other winter mornings. The plows haven’t yet been around so nothing is moving. I know what you mean about the breathing being so loud.

      No signs here yet of the end. The Syfy channel has end of the world movies on all day so if something happens, I’ll be prepared. I saw the movie!

      Being home and comfortable beats a party any time!!

      Have a great evening.

      • Morpfy Says:

        Figgy Bread Pudding:
        Cook time: 1 hr
        Ingredients:
        1 cup cut-up dried figs
        1/3 cup brandy
        3 cups half and half cream
        5 large eggs
        3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoon for garnish
        1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
        5 to 6 croissants
        Preparation:

        Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 13- x 9-inch baking dish (coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter).
        Narrowly (or slightly) cut the top half off of the croissants and set aside. Tear the remaining croissants into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
        In a bowl, combine the cut-up figs and brandy, let set 15 to 30 minutes. Note: I warmed the mixture it in the microwave to speed up the marinating. Strain the fig mixture, reserving the figs and brandy in separate bowls.
        Whisk together the brandy, half and half cream, eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined; set aside.
        Distribute the croissant pieces and figs in the prepared baking dish. Layer the reserved croissants tops over the top of the bread/fig mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the top and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
        In a large pot or teapot, bring approximately 8 cups water to a simmer; turn heat to low and keep water at a simmer.
        Evenly sprinkle the 2 tablespoons sugar over the top of the bread pudding. Set the filled baking dish into a large baking pan (roasting pan work well). Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the bread pudding dish.
        Baked approximately 1 hour, uncovered, or until the custard is set in the center, and the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
        To serve, cut into squares and put into individual serving dishes. Serve either warm or cold with vanilla ice cream (your choice).
        Makes 12 servings.

      • katry Says:

        Morpfy,
        I couldn’t wait to copy this. It sounds great-I like the croissants as the base. It’s now in my files.

  2. Hedley Says:

    And then the snows came
    We left the theatre (bah humbug) at around 10 to pouring rain and this morning the ground and trees are snow covered. Maggie seemed slightly indignant when we went out for her early morning activities. We have been promised more action, we shall see.
    There is very little surface noise, it is Christmas

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I saw the weather report about the midwest, and I know Colorado got tons of snow so yours isn’t surprising. Right now it is too warm here for snow, but in a few days it will be colder.

      The rain is falling and the wind is strong. Home is the place to be.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Happy Winter Solstice. Yes, it means cold and snow but it also means we are heading towards the light again. 🙂
    Since I retired, I have not had a really silent winter morning. I get up a bit later than in my working days so the neighborhood is more active. One neighbor goes by my house at exactly 6AM every week day. I hear his truck and know the time. Earlier than that, there is the paper delivery person who comes at 5-ish. I see his lights. If there was snow, there will be plows or sanders. Sometimes there will be snowblowers and always the sound of cars warming up. When I was working, I had to be on the road before most of these things. My breath and the crunch of my footsteps in the snow were the only sounds in the dark on cold winter mornings.
    It’s windy, rainy and feels colder than it says. I just now discovered why it’s been so cold by my knitting chair. I haven’t dropped the storm window on that window though I could have sworn I did them all at the same time. Oh, well.
    Enjoy the day!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      You’re right-every day will get a fraction longer, but we still have winter to face. January and February can be beastly.

      I never hear my newspaper being delivered, not even this morning when I was awake. Maybe she has a stealth car! If the dog didn’t bark, I’d miss the UPS man. The windows tend to keep the outside world where it belongs.

      I laughed at your window as I had something similar. One side of my bed was always cold from the window. The curtain even waved in the wind. I thought it was the air conditioner I never took out of the window, but then I notice it was at the top of the window. It seems the window as open a bit at the top. Presto! It now stays warm and the curtain doesn’t move.

      Stay warm and dry!!

  4. Bill S. Says:

    WHAT??? Nothing about the end of the world?

    Woke up to a few inches of snow, and tried to snowblow the driveway before it freezes again. The mush was coming out in globs of super-soaked slush, so I did the best I could. Now it’s lashing rain unti midday. I was about to fill the birdfeeder, but the rain/snow soaked the accessible seeds, so I washed it out and it is now drying by the woodstove. I shook out the wet seeds on the ground, so satans of spawn will have a feast.

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      I actually forgot about the end of the world. I should have checked the Syfi channel-they have end of world movies all day.

      I filled all the feeders yesterday as it was the first break in three days of rain, but I didn’t fill the spawns’ favorite feeder. I did throw the seeds which had fallen on the ground under the deck.

      We have cold and rain right now. I just ran to my mailbox to leave something for him to pick up-ugly out.

  5. Bob Says:

    Happy Winter Solstice! For me the worst thing is standard time. I love having that extra hour of daylight in the evening. An extra hour of darkness in the morning is just fine. One year, during the 1970 something fuel crisis, we abandoned standard time and stayed on daylight savings time for the entire year to save energy. More energy is consumed in the evenings rather than in the mornings. Of course there was an uproar about the sun not rising until the kids had arrived at school and how dangerous it was for them to walk to school in the dark. In Alaska and other far northern places kids walk to school all winter in the dark.

    When I was in Sao Paulo the first week in July I took a nap in the late afternoon the day I arrived. I thought I had overslept because it was dark out when I awoke. It was only five thirty in the evening. I guess I saw two longest nights this year.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      And a Happy Solstice to you as well! Around here there are no sidewalks in many of the towns for kids to walk on so parents complain about kids walking in the dark. Studies prove that the way starting school is structured is all wrong. The little kids should be first then the high school kids as both groups would learn better that way. It will never happen!

      I didn’t remember the darkness in Brazil when I was there one August. I guess it was too long ago.

  6. Hedley Says:

    In our time of Peace and Goodwill to all men, something special for im6.

  7. Bob Says:

    It appears that you are going to have to put up with campaign ads in the spring as Scott Brown gets another turn at bat for a Senate seat. Hopefully, the Democrats can find someone with name recognition to defeat Brown. The Republicans will throw billions at this race.

  8. katry Says:

    Gentlemen,
    I am, of course, using that term loosely. This is the time of the year when we joyfully embrace the wonders of the season. Play nice, you two!

  9. Rowen Says:

    Best description of winter I can remember. Thank you.


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