Let It Snow… just a little

I have a very childish love of snow. I get such a sense of excitement in the pit of my stomach as those first few flakes trickle down, a little teasing gift from the heavens, as if someone up there is saying, ‘Don’t take it all so seriously, it’s okay to smile and play.’

Yes I know for most people it’s a pain in the neck, or a real inconvenience, and like all weather, in extremis it can be dangerous.

But still, if we get to the end of winter, and we’ve had no snow, I feel so cheated. I love its silent majesty. I love the sight of pure snow, unwalked, untouched. I love the snow which is speckled with bird tracks, or cat prints, or human prints, that say, someone has walked here.

So I thought it was time once more for a few literary quotes. Forget about me, what do writers say about snow?

 

 

 

 

That’s it for December, and for 2022. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, my work and this blog. It’s greatly appreciated. Whatever you do to celebrate the end of the old year, may it bring you joy and a little closer to those you love.

***

 

The Language of Flowers #flowersinbooks #literaryquotes

Flowers. They are always mentioned in books, right?  Whether they are a metaphor for the transient nature of life, or for resilience, or else portrayed in a more traditional way as indicating someone’s feelings or emotions, they are the writer’s favourite motif.

In one of my books, they represent something sinister–a kind of veiled threat, when Cressida received dead flowers from an unknown source. But flowers have been written about for centuries by some of the world’s greatest authors.

Do you recognise all of these quotations? There’s no prize, but you can feel very proud of yourself if you do! Hopefully after reading a few of these, you’ll feel as though you’ve had tea in the garden on a sunny afternoon.

“If a kiss could be seen I think it would look like a violet.”

L. M. Montgomery: Anne Of Avonlea

″‘Really, there’s nothing to see.’ Nothing… only this: a great lawn where flowerbeds bloomed…”

Philippa Pearce: Tom’s Midnight Garden

“How extraordinary flowers are… People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”

Iris Murdoch: A Fairly Honourable Defeat

“A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.”

Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass

“In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”

Okakura Kakuzo: The Book of Tea

“Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,

The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;

And ’tis my faith that every flower

Enjoys the air it breathes.”

William Wordsworth: Lines Written in Early Spring

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”

Georgia O’Keeffe

“All day in grey rain

hollyhocks follow the sun’s

invisible road.”

Basho (translated by Harry Behn)

“Have you blossoms and books, those solaces of sorrow?”

Emily Dickinson: Letters

 

“All the men send you orchids because they’re expensive and they know that you know they are. But I always kind of think they’re cheap, don’t you, just because they’re expensive. Like telling someone how much you paid for something to show off.”

Winifred Watson: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

“You can see the goldenrod, that most tenacious and pernicious and beauteous of all New England flora, bowing away from the wind like a great and silent congregation.”

Stephen King: Salem’s Lot

 

“And over walls and earth and trees and swinging sprays and tendrils the fair green veil of tender little leaves had crept, and in the grass under the trees and the gray urns in the alcoves and here and there everywhere were touches or splashes of gold and purple and white and the trees were showing pink and snow above his head and there were fluttering of wings and faint sweet pipes and humming and scents and scents.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden

“There has fallen a splendid tear

From the passion-flower at the gate.

She is coming, my dove, my dear;

She is coming, my life, my fate.

The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;”

And the white rose weeps, “She is late;”

The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;”

And the lily whispers, “I wait.”

Alfred Tennyson: Maud Part 1

***

Doors of the imagination

Believe it or not, behind that silk-covered chair is a silk-covered door which houses a stunning ‘secret’ bathroom built specially for King George V in 1925, and never used by him, because his visit was cancelled.

When is a door not a door?

Ok I know we all know that old joke. But when I was walking around a beautiful country house recently, I was struck (not literally) by all the different styles of door, and I thought about what they could mean.

 

(I should just quickly add that I was completely convinced I’d written a previous blog post about doors/portals, but after wasting half an hour trying to find it, I’m now convinced it must have been a dream…???)

A rather scary back door at Calke Abbey. For the use of staff, obvs, no posh people here.

Doors. The thing is, a door is an everyday piece of equipment, if I can put it like that, and yet it contains the power to take us from one place, from the present, to a different place, the future. We know that when we open a door, we can move from one space to another.  Sometimes it’s as if we were moving into another world.  In fantasy literature, doors are seen as portals or magical spaces of transition.

But even in a country house, the door takes us from one sphere of life to a completely different one, say, from the sumptuous drawing room into a back hallway used purely for the convenience of staff, or from a dusty, intriguing library out into a beautiful garden.

Sometimes a door won’t open because it’s not a real door. This one is just to make the room appear symmetrical, and doesn’t open, as it’s just a bit of wood stuck onto a solid wall.

Doors are ordinary, and yet special. In books, or TV shows, or films etc, doors have the power to transform our lives purely because they exist. All the time you and I are on this side of the door, and the door is closed, we can’t be absolutely certain what we will find if we open the door. It might be that we will find dinner is ready and on the table, or we might find a fairytale castle perched on a precarious mountain-top.  A bit like Schrodinger’s Cat, we can’t be sure until we open the door which of the alternatives are actually before us.

A beautiful curved door to fit a curved wall. This is at Kedleston Hall.

What if we can’t even open the door?

What if we find something unexpected, even unwelcome, on the other side of the door?

We won’t know until we open it. And by then, it could be too late.

In real life, we will open the door and find the washing machine has finished our towels, but in literature, in the country of our imagination, we could be anywhere.

 

Sometimes doors show you not just the next room, but the one after that and the one after that. You are looking through them all at once as if they are a series of views, of points of interest on a tour.

So literature has a lot to tell us about doors, it seems. I’ve only shared a small number of door-related quotes here, if you are desperate, I’m sure you will find more. Or maybe you’ll catch yourself watching a little more closely as the characters in your current reading material or viewing material each have their entrances and their exits, and move on the stage of your imagination. Like me you might be struck by just how often a character moves through a door and ‘something’ happens.

And lastly, I hope you won’t mind me adding my own work into this illustrious company:

***