December 12, 2013

The paradox of glitter and simplicity

There are two sides to the holiday season. The busy, hectic, shopping, wrapping paper, and rushed to-do list side of our days,

And the hushed, simple, powdered sugar-coated, stripped-down-to-the-essentials side.

autumn

There are still signs of autumn in the bright glow of the sparkling snow.

blast

But the arctic blast of frozen white begins to dominate.

trim

We add the sparkly, festive trimmings in preparation.

perennials

And we say a wistful “goodbye until spring” to the hardy perennials that, by some miracle, find a way to survive the brutal, long months of winter ahead.

supplies

We stock up on supplies for warmth and comfort as we gather with family and friends,

evergreens

While snow settles on the evergreens and every branch and crook where it can find a resting place.

rock

In our few spare moments of reflection, we marvel at the beauty of the simplest natural formations,

daysend

Partly because we know the days are short, so observation time is limited.

berries

And every little miracle is a gift.

This is my Seasonal Celebrations observation. Join Donna at Gardens Eye View for more posts about how gardeners around the world are celebrating.

trimmings

Coming soon: The Garden Lessons Learned wrap-up. Please share a post or your thoughts about lessons you've learned during the past few months. To join in, click here to leave a comment with a link to your post. Thanks!

42 comments:

  1. Beth this is beautiful....I particularly love the days end with that warm soft light just stretching through the trees. Thank you for linking in with this wonderful observation of the season!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. We had an absolutely stunning sunset last night. Watching it, I kept thinking, "I should grab the camera, I should grab the camera..." But then I decided, "No, I'm just going to revel in this beautiful moment because it is so very brief and lovely." Thanks, again, for your collaboration on the memes, dear friend.

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  2. Lovely words and photos~Snow does make a garden glow.

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    1. Thanks, Gail. Snow is a blessing and a curse. ;-) Another one of those paradoxes. I'd miss it if I spent the winter in a warm climate, but it's sooo cold. Lovely, though, as you say.

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  3. Beautiful, I do love taking time to appreciate the special gifts of the season we find in nature.

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. Those moments of beauty help me to cope with the hustle and bustle and craziness of the holidays. :)

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  4. Beautiful post Beth...both your photographs and your words. I prefer to focus on the hushed, simple, stripped-to-the-essentials side of the holiday season. For me, that's what it's really all about. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I agree. The sparkly stuff is fun, but it can be exhausting after a while. So I grab the quiet moments when I can. Happy Holidays!

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  5. Lovely. Though for me, apart from lots of twinkly lights and a christmas tree decked with the family baubles, christmas gets more and more calm, pared down. I like it that way - as does my waistline - but am looking forward to sharing it with one of the nephews and his parents this year. Its the people that make it special. That and sitting on the beach eating sausage rolls on Christmas Day!

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    1. Nice! I can't imagine sitting on the beach in December in my climate, unless it's in a snowsuit and moon boots, with hot chocolate. The lake is frozen here! ;-) Enjoy!

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  6. Your snow looks beautiful! Here we mostly just have a stripped down winter palette of greys and browns. But I am looking around to notice which plants add winter beauty (or have value for birds) so I can add more in the future!

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    1. I prefer the white landscape, too, Aaron. But it's just too cold! And it lasts too long. Regarding winter beauty--shrubs with berries are wonderful--those are my favorites for adding "winter interest."

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  7. Such a lovely words and images of winter and I am always amazed how plants survive the freezing cold.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, the survivors are incredible, aren't they?!

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  8. Beautiful photos and accompanying words Beth, lovely to see you have snow for Christmas but sad to see your garden is tucked in for such a long time. I really don’t miss snow, I have had more than enough of it for the rest of my life but I wouldn’t mind a few hours of snow just on Christmas Eve – that won’t happen this year though, we are having very mild weather and it will last.

    Christmas here is a low-key thing, no stress and running around, everything is bought online and I am finished with all I need to do. I can just get on with what I love to do; pottering about in my garden, although the days are very short so I don’t get that much time before it’s too dark to see anything :-)

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    1. Thank you, Helene! Yes, there are pros and cons to a cold winter. Actually I guess I prefer dry snow to cold rain, but warm rain is just fine--plus the plants love it. I guess I have the make the best of my situation--time for a few good books and a fire in the fireplace. ;-)

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  9. I love that sleigh...always wanted one. And yes, when I look at the frozen ground so cold and hard, it's difficult to think that anything will grow again. But each spring it surprises us again.

    Jen

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    1. Oh, yeah, the sled is my husband's from when he was a kid. We just put a bow on it every year and it brightens the front walk. Easy, peasy decorations--my favorite kind.

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  10. Although you've posted winter images - they weren't cold at all. Perfect seasonal celebrations :)
    I love the snow, I just wish we had more rather than wind and rain!

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    1. Thanks, Angie. That's the thing--the winter landscape looks so pretty, it lures you outside and then your fingers freeze. ;-) But I'm learning I'd rather have a winter with snow and dry air than with cold rain. That goes right to my bones. Still, the snow sticks around too long. Oh well...

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  11. I too share your thoughts. The season offers many gifts and it only takes finding the time to see the simplest examples. No need for the glitz, but it is nice to see at this time of year. It really does brighten the season.

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    1. I always feel a little harried this time of year, so the little moments of simplicity help me to get through. But I enjoy some of the sparkle, too.

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  12. I prefer the simplicity part. Or maybe it's just that I hate shopping. Or the really loud pseudo-Christmas music played over the PA at the Walgreen's. Bah humbug.I like your wreath, though. We still need to put one up.

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    1. I don't enjoy shopping either--at least not at the malls. I do most of my shopping online now or at craft fairs or consignment shops. I cheated with some of these photos (don't tell anyone ;-) ). Some of them are from seasons past.

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  13. What a lovely post, Beth! Christmas used to be such a frenzy when I was working that I really didn't enjoy it until it was all over. Now that I'm retired, all the preparation seems to take twice as long--I'm just getting slower:)--but I do take the time to enjoy the simple moments occasionally, too. Looks like you finally got the snow, too; lovely photos. We got about a foot over the weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed tramping about with my camera. I hope it stays through Christmas--and then leaves:)

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    1. Thank you, Rose! Now that I work from home, it's a little less hectic but still pretty crazy. I think you got more snow earlier in the month than we did, but now we're getting several inches of fresh snow again. Most of these photos, by the way, were from past seasons. I don't enjoy winter photography until I get used to it and the temps stay above about 25F. We've been in the single digits lately. Brrrr! Yes, it's always nice to have a white Christmas. And about February 1, I'm ready to leave the Upper Midwest until April! Enjoy the simple moments, Rose.

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  14. Hi Beth, I enjoyed your atmospheric winter photos! Here in Southern California it felt like spring rather than winter last weekend. Yesterday we had temperatures in the 70ties! I am having a little bit trouble to get into the holiday spirit under those conditions, but, of course, you always can get into the holiday preparation frenzy. This year I refused to do that and keep things simple, so that it can be an enjoyable time and not a stressful one! There is a lot of work to do in the garden in December and I will be careful not to overdo it there, too! Wishing you Happy Holidays!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks, Christina. I remember spending several holidays with relatives in California, and it was very pleasant. I'm jealous. Believe it or not, it's sometimes hard to get in the spirit here in this climate, too. We get into survival mode when the cold hits, and all we want to do is go to sleep or sit by the fire and read a good book. ;-)

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  15. That looks just like my winter. I think you might be right concerning the snow boredom. I do need a new sled. Thanks for that reminder.

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    1. Seems like we live in similar climates--pleasant most of the year, but not so much when the cold and deep snow hit. Sleds do help to set the mood, don't they?

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  16. Thanks for letting me be in a winter world through your photos. With all the winter shots in most blogs from the temperate world, i just am glad i have a different setting, as even just the photos convey too much cold. May you be fully blessed and let's see each other again come spring.

    Merry Christmas to you and family Beth. Thanks for being a blogger friend.

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    1. Thank you, and it's so delightful to share plant and gardening insights with you! I'm glad you don't have to be cold like we are here. It's a beautiful landscape, but extremely uncomfortable. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  17. Your snow photos looks beautiful!

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    1. Thank you. If it wasn't so cold, winter would be OK.

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  18. Beautiful winter shots! We have never found it here. Thanks for sharing me your winter atmosphere.
    Endah - Indonesia

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for stopping by! My impression of Indonesia is that it is incredibly diverse and beautiful!

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  19. What a beautiful post! Many years we only get to experience snow vicariously, so I am so appreciative of your lovely winter scenes. However, that stack of wood looks familiar. We often hover in that neverland just above freezing; it's plenty cold enough for a blazing hearth, and my husband loves to play woodsman. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    1. Thanks, Deb. There's a narrow window of winter that I enjoy--from about 20F to 30F, when it's dry and sunny and calm. I much prefer a winter in that range than one with wet, cold rain, and wind. But our winters last way too long, and tend to have the icky wet stuff on both ends. Warm fires help us to cope, don't they?

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  20. Beautiful photos and reflections on the season. I love the sled used as a decoration. I have two wooden sleds that I will have to haul out and tie with ribbons.

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn. The sled just seems to work in that particular spot. I'm sure yours will look great at your place, too. Happy Holidays!

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  21. Christmas is all hectic rushing around here - watering, weeding and mulching as well as all the shopping, cooking, wrapping, travelling. The to-do list rules every day. And it's hot! So it was lovely to spend a few minutes in the calm, beautiful world of this post. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you, Lyn! Part of me is jealous of your climate, and part of me is glad that we will have a white Christmas this year. It's very easy to get in the mood when everything is coated with white. Then again, I prefer to be warm. Happy Holidays, Lyn!

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