January is here, with eyes that keenly glow, A frost-mailed warrior striding a shadowy steed of snow.

Excerpt from “The Masque of Months” by Edgar Fawcett

The days are short, The sun a spark, Hung thin between The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps Track the floor. Milk bottles burst Outside the door.

The river is A frozen place Held still beneath The trees of lace.

The sky is low. The wind is gray. The radiator Purrs all day.

January by John Updike

Winter Symphony by Paul Nordoff. Performed by the Robert Whitney-Louisville Orchestra.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/ Emanuele Sardi

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7271

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-lah! <Body is invalid; try to be a little more descriptive>

1 Like

i love the phrase, “fat snowy footsteps”…that’s just what’s happening now as the kids trudge up my porch for their violin lessons…

and i love this symphony…i can’t say i’m familiar with paul nordoff, but he reminds me a bit of edward elgar - pure enjoyment of the journey, rather than getting from point A to point B efficiently…


Brings back memories when a kid.
When milk was delivered by delivery truck and drivers in quart bottles. They would be placed in a wood box on the porch. The cream would be at the top. On very cold days the liquid might freeze some, expand, and pop the lid with the frozen cream, which might be eaten before it had a chance to melt.

Radiators. LOL! This was the days when there was a boiler in the basement heating water in the pipes. Both in homes and apartment buildings. Before the days of central heat and air by electricity and/or gas.
There is one high rise apartment building near where I live that still have them. In the winter they charge the renters an extra $50 per month for heat to cover the cost of operating the system in the winter.

Frozen Rivers — this is only for cold northern states :blush: But in really olden days, it was big business sawing up the Ice, placing it in rooms and covered with straw to prevent melting, to keep things cool during parts of the summer.
I do remember as a kid seeing persons out on the frozen bay in Toledo [at times with cars] ice fishing. Some just sitting on a stool next to a hole. Others had a very small wooden building they sat in to keep out of the wind. Was quite popular as a winter “sport”. Once in a while one might see a sailing “boat” going over the ice. Or, perhaps several of them “racing” in the wind.

Kristan – speaking of Wood Stove. For 25 years, when I was at Laurelbrook we had a wood stove for heating. Two of the houses we lived in had fireplaces. So once in a while we would light a fire in them, turn off the lights in the evening, and just enjoy the glow from the fire for a couple of hours.
We worked in the day time. Sometimes we would set a pot of beans on top of the wood stove when we left. and They would be done when we got back home in the evening. The wood stove made a great slow cooker.
The only problem with a wood stove was that it was impossible to maintain a completely smoke free environment all winter. So “spring cleaning” had to be done with drapes and carpet to get them back to original color. Wash windows. But those were just wood stove rituals.
Retiree friends of ours built a home there on a piece of land that had a slope to it. So had an entrance on ground level at the basement. They installed a wood stove in the basement with ducting to all the rooms in the home. And had central heat without the mess in the living quarters. They had a fireplace, but just used it for fun.


Hi Steve,

You have some great memories of cold climates! For those who are managing to merely tolerate winter in the upper parts of our country, it can go on forever. I think it is much better to find ways to embrace it. Learn to ski, snowboard, buy some snow machines, find out who goes ice fishing and join in for a day, learn to ice skate/play hockey, check out the cultural “goings on” in your area and take in a winter festival in a small town or big city, snowshoe, cross country ski, bonfires, sledding, snowtubing, etc. And be sure to get yourself a nice big woodstove to enjoy evenings and days at home. Between work and cold weather fun, the winter can really fly by, and one can almost be sad when it melts!!!

1 Like

No, don’t buy snow machines. They’re awfully noisy–one reason I moved away from Michigan.

Sleeping winter’s ether how do mere words wake the the Snow Queen fire lit darling passioned winter’s wildfire Laurelbrook wakes winter slumber kill ether found your Queen your soulmate, you in her, her in you, passioned frozen in Toledo.

Beautiful imagery. Lovely music to read the words by and to remember the old days of carefreeness and innocence…

Memories: growing up in the Cumberland Plateau, we had plenty of snow in January. At times our milk bottles from the local creamery did freeze. The iced river and ponds did provide needed recreation after a tough day in school.

No radiators. Just a fireplace and a wood stove.

Thanks for the warm memories on this cold January night.

1 Like