Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things Seen Thru The Window This Winter

Winter’s an interior time—the inclement weather, the cold, the deep snow & icy paths rendering much of the property inaccessible—all these combine to make the outdoors a world best appreciated from the comfort of a warm living room or kitchen.

Yesterday evening Eberle & I sat at the kitchen table & made an inventory of things we’ve seen thru the windows of our home so far this winter. A number of these are things we see each winter; some we’ve seen for the first time recently….

  • The January full moon casting shadows on silvery snow.
  • Small bundles of spruce needles where the Christmas tree was dragged thru the snow toward the garden.
  • Quails & juncos eating cracked corn in this same path.
  • A cedar bench covered in snow except for one corner of the seat
  • Frozen apples on a wild apple tree
  • A porcupine high in a poplar tree during a snowstorm
  • The top of an artemesia plant sticking up thru a snowdrift
  • A sheet of ice & snow creating a snow cave blocking the view from the dormer window
  • A humungous sheet of ice & snow sliding off the porch roof onto a bird feeder—the metal pole on which the feeder hangs shook so much that the feeder was thrown almost onto the porch.
  • Several quails perched in a pear tree during a snowstorm
  • A bright red pepper, blown from a bundle of peppers drying on the porch, lying in the snow-covered driveway.
  • A large black & white feral tomcat skulking around the bird feeder
  • Our neighbors in the morning twilight hauling hay to their cattle with their four-wheeler,
  • A mound of plowed snow beside the driveway blackened by thistle seed falling from a feeder in the willow
  • Snowdrifts piling in white mounds up the metal spiral staircase outside our old house—these stairs lead to Eberle’s old studio.
  • Fog descending from the foothills in the evening & surrounding Sage Hill
  • A rainbow above Sage Hill—formed during a snow shower
  • A brass solar lamp shining out from a snow well near the shop,
  • Goldfinches & sparrows at the feeders; juncos gathering dropped seed on the snow below.
  • Potting soil strewn on the paths to melt ice & snow.
  • Quails standing on one of Eberle’s painted metal garden sculptures (a small corrugated metal culvert topped with a wheel spray-painted blue); from this spot they can reach one of the bird feeders.
  • Shreds of tamarisk fronds scattered across the snow after a windstorm.
  • The County road grader plowing Whiteman Lane & N. Gray’s Creek Rd
  • An old white pick-up taking the corner on to N. Gray’s Creek Rd too fast—skidding—then righting itself.
  • Two girls riding horses on N. Gray’s Creek Rd in the afternoon accompanied by three dogs.
  • Our black cat walking on the path from the woodshed
  • Our Manx tiger cat at the door in the morning
  • Frozen water in the blue plastic cat bowl.
  • Juncos eating thistle seed that’s spilled on the potting bench, apparently oblivious to the old black cat, who’s apparently oblivious to them.
  • Our solar powered “Northern Lights” on the porch turning red, green, blue, amber & white after dark.
  • A distant sodium light from a house on the ridge to the east.


  1. What a great post! A good deal of my poetry is the result of my reflections on what goes on outside the windows of my home. We back on to a cemetery and strangely,it is a tremendous source of inspiration.
    The scene on our back porch is not unlike yours, but for the fact that we don't have quail. (You're so lucky!)
    We DO have cats however - four of them! (They're on the inside, looking out! They also have tons of squirrels, chippies and rabbits to watch.)
    I would love to look out my window and be able to look at cattle, but unfortunately we're city dwellers (not a big city, mind).

    I thought you might like to take a look at a few of the poems inspired by my view:




    I really enjoy your posts, John. You must have quite an idyllic spot there.


  2. Hi Kat:

    Thanks for directing me to those poems-- I enjoyed all three & commented on them at your blog.

    I also used to look out the window a lot when I wrote poetry, both in Virginia & in San Francisco. Funny thing is, my last apartment in San Francisco was on a residential street-- small window, couldn't see much; but looking out a window does seem to engage the imagination.

    Indian Valley is idyllic if you can used to the brutal extrememes of climate!

    Thanks again.

  3. We have some pretty extreme weather here too - lately we're prone to severe rainstorms and even tornadoes in summer and winter, well we've been under a blanket of snow since well before Christmas and some nights we go down to -22 Celsius. Thank goodness we've got duvets and lots of cats to keep us warm!

    Thanks for your comments; I appreciate them.


  4. -22 C (i think that's around -8 F) definitely calls for multiple cats & duvets!



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