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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter - Friend or Foe?

It’s cold outside this morning, the first really cold morning in these waning days of fall.  The light of day is getting shorter and trees are bearing their limbs.  Soon the starkness of winter will be with us.

It’s about this time of year when I recall the first few lines of a poem I memorized in a high school French class.  Through the marvel of the internet I found the entire poem by Charles d’Orleans that was eventually set to music by Claude Debussy.

Yver, vous n'estes qu'un vilain;
Esté est plaisant et gentil
En témoing de may et d'avril 
Qui l'accompaignent soir et main.
Esté revet champs, bois et fleurs
De sa livrée de verdure
Et de maintes autres couleurs
Par l'ordonnance de nature.
Mais vous, Yver, trop estes plein 
De nège, vent, pluye et grézil.
On vous deust banir en éxil.
Sans point flater je parle plein,
Yver, vous n'estes qu'un vilain.

Winter, you're naught but a rouge.
Summer is pleasantness and kindness,
as we see from May and April
which accompany it evening and morning.
Summer, by nature's order, clothes
fields, woods and flowers
with its livery of green
and many other hues.
But you, Winter, are too full
of snow, wind, rain and sleet.
We must send you into exile.
I'm no flatterer and I speak my mind.
Winter, you're naught but a rouge.

The other side of this poem is that during these short days we also experience some of the most vibrant blue skies of the year, the long nights bring crystal clear heavens that are often obscured by the heat and haze of summer, and there is regenerative mystery in the barrenness and dormancy of nature where new growth is nurtured.

It is no wonder that at this time of year we also begin to decorate our houses and streets with light and celebrate the coming and Presence of Light in the world.

By the way, tonight is a full moon.  I hope the skies are clear where you are – enjoy!


  1. Sunny and 60 degrees in Albuquerque. Gonna be that way all week.
    Winter so far is a poser here.

  2. Why is it that when I read your blog I can hear the words in the sound and cadence of your voice?