We had a winter break in this past weekend. I know this is not the proper use of the English term “break in;” rather, it is a literal translation of the German term “Wintereinbruch.” I decided to put forth this unusual use of “break in” because I feel that is exactly what we experienced.



It’s not even Thanksgiving, and the trees haven’t shed all their leaves yet, but temperatures plummeted to 25F and it snowed substantially. On Sunday roads and sidewalks were decidedly icy.


I was still stubborn enough to go for a walk while my son was at basketball practice, which is when I took these photos. I have to admit, though, that my nose nearly froze off, despite me having donned my winter coat, boots, hat, gloves and shawl. I even put on long underwear but I did forget how quickly your fingers freeze when you’re trying to take a picture on a Smartphone (the traction on my touch-screen-usable gloves seems to have stopped working) in these temperatures.

In the evening, while leafing through my Poem A Day book in search of a different poem, I stumbled upon the following one, which I had dogeared at a previous reading and which the editor slated for the day of November 26. How totally appropriate it was for our winter break in!


The Winter’s Come

Sweet chestnuts brown, like soling leather, turn,
The larch-trees, like the color of the sun,
That paled sky in the autumn seem’d to burn,
What a strange scene before us now does turn–
Red, brown, and yellow, russet, black, and dun,
Whitethorn, wild cherry, and the poplar bare;
The sycamore all withered in the sun.
No leaves are now upon the birch-tree there:
All now is script to the cold wintry air.

See, not one tree but what has lost its leaves–
And yet the landscape wears a pleasing hue.
The winter chill on his cold bed receives
Foliage which once hung o’er the waters blue.
Naked and bare the leafless trees repose,
Blue-headed titmouse now seeks maggots rare,
Sluggish and dull the leaf-strewn river flows;
That is not green, which was so through the year–
Dark chill November draweth to a close.

‘Tis winter and I love to read indoors,
When the moon hangs her crescent up on high;
While on the window shutters the wind roars,
And storms like furies pass remorseless by,
How pleasant on a feather-bed to lie,
Or sitting by the fire, in fancy soar
With Dante or with Milton to regions high,
Or read fresh volumes we’ve not seen before,
Or o’er old Burton’s Melancholy pore.

John Clare