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Old 24-11-2003, 03:22 PM
Craig Cowing
 
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Default [IBC] Winter (was: [IBC] winter care)

Jim Lewis wrote:

I didn't mean to imply that people in warmer areas don't have

to do anything, but
I'd be willing to bet it doesn't involve as much as we have to

do up here.


Hey, Craig . . .

None of us are complaining. And we'll concede that you have to
work at it. What we don't understand is why you put UP with it.

I'd be willing to bet that virtually none of us would ever give
up our "winter" season for one of yours. I know I wouldn't. If
I never see another snowflake on anything but a Christmas card,
I'll die happy.

jim - - whose wife is DRAGGING HIM KICKING
AND SCREAMING to a snowy Christmas at a West Virginia ski resort.
:-(


Well, I guess it's a matter of perspective. I don't just put up with winter--I
welcome it. I grew up in Connecticut, where we had real winters. Frozen ground
consistently, snow on the ground from mid-December to March, that sort of thing. I
haven't known anything else. My family has been in New England for almost 400
years, so after awhile I think it works its way into one's bones. I don't believe
I'd ever want to live so far south that I didn't have a winter like this. I
understand that some people when they get older find that winter is more difficult
to deal with, and I don't fault them for that.

For me, winter, like the rest of the seasons, is a part of the cyclical passage of
time. Winter is not depressing for me unless it lasts half the year. That would
be depressing. But I don't find it depressing to see the earth rest for three or
four months. It is beautiful and peaceful. The earth rests under its blanket of
snow. It is a time to withdraw somewhat and be introspective. And strangely
enough, winter is a time of warmth, of spending more time indoors being
introspective. Also, it gives me a rest from my trees. I realize that may sound
strange, but having a break from them for a few months helps me to appreciate them
more the next spring. It is a time when I allow the earth to care for my trees
once I have made the proper arrangements. I give them up to the earth and they are
returned to me in the spring, ready to go. I don't have to water during the
winter. During the winter I think about what I'd like to do with individual trees,
I think about pots, how I might set up my outside area differently, that sort of
thing.

The subtle beauty of winter is very comforting to me. Seeing the bare trees,
resting until the burst of growth and new life in the spring, is a sign of hope.
The hillsides are much more subtle in color, sort of a light purplish/brown, if
that's possible to imagine, pockmarked by the occasional pine or red cedar. There
aren't nearly as many evergreen trees here as there were in Maine, and it has taken
some getting used to.

And by comparison, the winters where I am now, 1.5 hours NW of New York City, are
mild. This is a gift after living in Vermont and Maine for 16 years, although I
have only been doing bonsai for the last four years. Up there, winter starts in
November and lets up around April, sometimes May. A couple of years ago we had
snow on the ground in Maine until the first week of May.

So, being able to count on going collecting in March and taking my trees out of
winter storage in March is a real treat.

Then, of course, after winter comes spring. The snow melts, trees begin to bud,
the birds return, and the earth renews itself. I realize that in Florida that
happens too, but it seems to me that the change would be more dramatic.

Last winter we had what I guess is a hard winter here , although it was what a
typical to mild winter would be in Maine. Everyone knew that I spent a long time
in Maine and that I had just come from there, so they'd ask me what I thought of
the winter so far. I'd usually respond that I was still waiting for winter. The
looks I'd get! I think if people here spent more time enjoying winter and expended
less energy complaining about it they would live longer.

Winter isn't depressing or negative for me. It just is what it is.

Craig Cowing
NY
Zone 5b/6a Sunset 37

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