Saturday essay: Winter's renewal
“The nakedness and asperity of the wintery world always fill the beholder with pensive and profound astonishment,” wrote 18th-century English essayist Samuel Johnson.
Indeed, there is a roughness and a harshness to this stripped-bare season. The winds and the cold that bite with their teeth and lash with their tail can bruise and batter our souls. It is as if life itself has been snatched from us. And despite knowing better, we question whether there will be, can be, another spring.
But upon closer examination — aided perhaps by a cup of sweet English tea that rekindles our souls — our pensiveness wanes; our astonishment no longer invites the pejorative. For there's plenty of life, if not grandeur, to be found in the seasonal slumber.
Is there anything more beautiful than the contrast of the red cardinal against the bark of an ice-slathered silver maple? Why, yes, there is: Even more stark in its beauty is the counterpose of the elusive red fox and its kits, scampering back to their den, against the fresh comforter of snow.
And back inside? William Cowper, one of Mr. Johnson's contemporaries, crowned winter as “the king of intimate delights.”
“Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness,
“And all the comforts that the lowly roof
“Of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours
“Of long uninterrupted evening know.”
Winter need not be the season of our discontent. It is, as we must attest, the season of our renewal.
— Colin McNickle
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Union ‘fairness’: The dues racket
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- The Kathleen Kane chronicles: New and serious questions are being raised about the Pa. attorney general