It’s Grace, writing in the middle of finals week. I have no formal exams, just five papers to write — so I’m a little fried; however, instead of finishing essay no. 3, I’m instead taking to the blog to write some words that I don’t need to share. I need a break from packing and writing and blasting Lorde in my townhouse.
Normally, I get pretty bummed during finals, because of both stress and the pervasive sense of grayness that settles over Lexington. The study rooms are packed, there’s no structure, and the sky is just dark all the time. (I don’t do well without sunshine.)
This year though, we got a little curveball: a snowstorm. And I LOVE it. I’ve never seen this much snow in a place I’ve lived, and so I get a little twinge of joy every time I shrug into my massive parka and clomp out through the snow. I love the freshness settling in my lungs; I love the cozy satisfaction of being inside after bracing myself against the wind. It just makes exam week so much more fun. (Also, I would love if we had a snowy winter because I’m not sick of it yet. I just don’t like gray.)
I wanted to update my winter books post, or at least do a 2018 version, but I decided instead to curate some winter quotes from some of those picks. So without further ado, here are some winter words if, like me, you need a study break. Or if you’re just a fan of gorgeous quotes.
“Winter collapsed on us that year. It knelt, exhausted, and stayed.”
Emily Fridlund, A History of Wolves.
“In winter we lead a more inward life. Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts, whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from whose chimneys the smoke cheerfully ascends.”
Henry David Thoreau.
“He wonders if it is possible for decades to seem like the sun speared by the trees at dusk, like when you walk to your car and your breath is a vapor in the winter chill, lifting like a prayer.”
Doug Ramspeck, from “A Map of Years,” The Southern Review (vol. 54, no. 1, Winter 2018)
“I came here because it’s pine-dark and the ocean is wild. The kind of quiet-noise you need when there’s too much going on in your head. Like the water and the woods are doing all the feeling, and I can hang out, quiet as a headstone, in a between place. A blank I can bear.”
Amy McNamara, Lovely, Dark, and Deep.
He realized later that night that the owners had turned off every light in the house before they left, so Sam’s cabin was a barren little pool of empty light all by itself in a mostly darkened valley, with only the stars and a line of street lights along a distant ridge to break the almost-absolute darkness. When he went outside, there were so many stars in the sky that it seemed almost oppressive, as if the sky was actually bulging down toward him, pressing all those stars closer. Like he was being forced to eat.
Russell Wangersky, The Path of Most Resistance.
This soul layers blue
upon a snow’s quilt
of quiet. Still, the moon
takes credit for the pale lit
loneliness, dispenses more
light upon a dark counter
where a few caplets wait,
little tombstones without epitaphs,
bitter palmful of promises
for when days feel like clichés,
when nothing else comes to mind
except some recurring dream
dreamt in gray–
Greg Sellers, opening lines to “Apothēkē”
This is the truth. They stood on the stones in the lightly falling snow and listened to the silvery, trembling sound of thousands of keys being shaken, unlocking the air, once upon a time.
Ursula K. Le Guin, from “Unlocking the Air,” The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories, One Volume Edition (Saga Press, 2016.)