In classic art the season of winter is often portrayed as a blustering and bearded, old man. By contrast, the sculpture titled Winter, by Antoine Houdon, is a stark depiction of a woman, bare-bottomed and shoeless with nothing more than a shawl to protect her from the elements. It is shocking to the senses. One is immediately overcome with a sense of chill. This compelling work from the 18th Century was far ahead of its time.
Winter is a time of long cold nights and short fleeting hours of daylight. It is a time for sleeping later in the morning if you can. A time for bundling in heavy clothes to insulate our bodies against the cold rain and snow. A time of longing for those warmer days in the garden.
An Old Man’s Winter Night
by Robert Frost
All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars, That gathers on the pane in empty rooms. What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand. What kept him from remembering what it was That brought him to that creaking room was age. He stood with barrels round him—at a loss. And having scared the cellar under him In clomping there, he scared it once again In clomping off;—and scared the outer night, Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar Of trees and crack of branches, common things, But nothing so like beating on a box. A light he was to no one but himself Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what, A quiet light, and then not even that. He consigned to the moon—such as she was, So late-arising—to the broken moon As better than the sun in any case For such a charge, his snow upon the roof, His icicles along the wall to keep; And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted, And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept. One aged man—one man—can't keep a house, A farm, a countryside, or if he can, It's thus he does it of a winter night. *****
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