“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”

The cold is coming. Yesterday was near 60˚ while today is down to 40˚ and tonight will be in the high 30’s. It’s time to take my mukluks from storage, match pairs of mittens, find the socks with no holes and build layers. I hate it when my nose gets cold.

Despite the chill, winter sometimes redeems itself. I love the crunch of frost under my feet when I cross the lawn to get the papers. I stand by the door and watch snowflakes fall. At night they glisten under the backdoor light. Some snowstorms are pure quiet. Nothing moves and the snow falls silently to the ground. I use the deck rail as a ruler of sorts to see how much snow has fallen. If I go outside, some nights are so cold they take my breath away. My down comforter keeps me cozy and warm. I always think Christmas has to come in winter when the dark night begins in the afternoon and stays until later in the morning. All the colors and lights of Christmas are so bright they keep the darkness at bay. I like colored lights on the fence and a giant white star on the gate.

This time of year it is too cold for just a shirt and too warm for a jacket so I wear a sweatshirt. I didn’t start wearing them until I was in college when I proudly wore my Merrimack College blue sweatshirt. Now I have so many. One of my favorites is a red one with Red Sox emblazoned across the front. I have a couple that are worse for the wear from the National Peace Corps Association. They are now inside sweatshirts. Right now I’m wearing one with Celtics on the front. It is a boring grey. It too is an inside sweatshirt.

Today I am staying around the house. I have some laundry, but mostly it is because my back and hip are painful. The couch gives welcomed relief. Besides, it’s a great spot for a nap. Just ask Gracie. She is sleeping there right now.

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24 Comments on ““It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    And im6 and I have been yacking.
    Sainsburys have rolled out a three minute long Christmas advert. There is no product placement, no happy kiddies sweeping up toys at Wal Mart, no anxious Dad’s wheeling TVs out of Best Buy, no unhappy consumers having their credit card data pinched at Target. Sainsburys did something different and here it is

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      That was extraordinary. I had known of the Christmas Eve truce, but this so wonderfully brings it to light. I applaud Sainsbury.

      • Hedley Says:

        It took place at various sectors of the line and perhaps there was even a football match. By Boxing Day it was over and the hostilities resumed.
        My opinion is the same as yours. It was a bold decision by Sainsburys in conjunction with the British Legion.

      • katry Says:

        I went looking right after I had seen it so I’d get more information. It did mention a football game and that in subsequent years officers forbade a truce for Christmas.

      • Hedley Says:

        The football was to become a much darker symbol as troops were encouraged to pursue it across no mans land.
        My Grandfather’s battalion the 1/19s of the London Regiment were decimated in the first attack on High Wood at the Somme. They were encouraged to follow a football in to the machine guns and on to the wire.

      • katry Says:

        Who encouraged them to follow the football into machine guns and wires?

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat, It was September 15th 1916. The officers lead and took with them a number of Battalions fighting with the 47th regiment. The London Irish, the Popular and Stepney Rifles, and the 1/19s, known as St Pancras were amongst them.

        Such was the carnage to these elite groups that Hamilton, the CO of the 1/19s gathered together what remained and organized an attack on the wire and the emplacements . They all perished.

        Jack had been seriously injured on Vimy Ridge in May of that year and was to spend a year in hospital. He had joined the 1/19s in August 1914 and had gone through significant encounters including Loos where the losses were equally appalling. He wasn’t at the Somme, or the next stop, the 3rd Battle of Ypres commonly known as Passchendaele

      • katry Says:

        My grandfather served in WWI but he never talked about it. My other grandfather was too young for one war and too old for the next.

    • im6 Says:

      Hedley shared this with me this morning and I think maybe I gave him the impression that I didn’t like this all that much. I found it very moving and a nice change of pace from the “buy! buy! buy!” we get here in American commercials. I did share an article from The Guardian that was quite critical of using such an event as the basis for a commercial. I completely disagree. My overall impression was that it was such a call for peace and condemnation of war. Those troops had nothing against each other personally — they were cogs in a war machine run by big egos of small men (as are most wars). This commercial should be shown in schools and I don’t give a damn if that’s brainwashing or not. “When will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?”

      • katry Says:

        They won’t ever learn. History is filled with war between countries, towns, families, religions and political factions. I know I’ve missed some as I suspect the list goes on and on.

        I can’t imagine why a moment of peace, of camaraderie, brought about by Christmas can be criticized. At the end when they hear the gunshots their faces tell it all. They did not want to return to war.

        I too found it moving.

  2. Hedley Says:

    And for my friend im6, here is Monty the Penguin

    • katry Says:

      I so love this!!

    • im6 Says:

      Nice, if a bit calculated in a commercial way, but very well done. I like the cover of the Beatles song and went searching and discovered it is by Tom Odell, who won last years Brit Critics’ Choice Award. When I went to YouTube to listen to more by him, it was really a sad, sad awakening as there were so many versions of “Real Love” by other singers and almost all labeled the song as a Tom Odell cover. I guess to them it probably is, but it pains me to see The Beatles slip from the public’s radar that way.

  3. Birgit Says:

    Keep your nose warm 🙂
    We sighted Christer’s cranes (or their relatives) on their way south last weekend, now it’s definitely autumn over here:
    I have to hurry, choir concert trip tomorrow and I want to leave early to combine it with some sightseeing, I haven’t eaten and packed yet. A little bit of sleep would be nice too.

  4. Coleen Says:

    These videos are lovely…I am not familiar with the stores. Are they British? Canadian?

    And I famously wore a dark pink sweatshirt for a LOOOONG time…it is on the “B” list now…too many holes! 🙁



    • katry Says:

      I believe they are British as both of them came from Hedley.

      I love those “B” list sweatshirts. It is with great solemnity that they are retired.


    • Hedley Says:

      Hi Waving Coleen,
      These are both British stores, John Lewis is considered to be a Department Store while Sainsbury has been a Grocery store for many years.
      Hope that helps
      Waving in Detroit

      • Coleen Says:


        Thank you! You are a darlin’ for answering my questions! I always love coming to this site…

        Waving from a freakin’ cold New Jersey…


  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I don’t bother matching mittens or socks anymore. As long as there is one for each appendage, I’m good. I’m only going dog walking in them and socks are inside shoes and underneath pant legs so no one can see them. Unless of course the “Mother’s Worst Nightmare” happens and I get in an accident and have to go to the hospital. 🙂

    I need some sweatshirts. I have three. One is of a material that is not warm enough for cold weather but too hot for warm weather. One is a hoodie and is too warm to wear inside. The other one is a Christmas one which I diligently look for every year about this time and don’t find until well after Christmas whereupon I put it somewhere so I can find it for next Christmas. It hasn’t been worn in a very long time. 🙂

    It snowed. The dogs and I went out in rain but snow was on the ground. Piki Dog seems to have taken snow on the ground in stride but there has only been a dusting to deal with. He has much to learn.

    The videos were great. Regarding the Christmas Truce in WWI, I read somewhere that in the days after the soldiers on both sides were reluctant resume hostilities with people they had celebrated Christmas with. Many of them on both sides were transferred out of their units to other parts of the front and replaced by new men.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My socks only get tossed when the holes are too big. They have a couple of lives before that. I use them as polish cloths after they are retired from the sock drawer. They work wonderfully.I don’t mind unmatched mittens but I like matched socks because they are chosen to match my shirt.

      I have only one sweatshirt which isn’t a hoodie, and I am forever trying to put my hands in the nonexistent pouch. I have many sweatshirts including three Red Sox ones. I have inside and outside sweatshirts.

      It rained starting last night into this morning. It stopped for a while but it is raining again. It is warmer than I thought it would be.

      I read the same thing about after the truce. The officers could not get some of the men to start the shooting again.

      Stay warm!

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