French Cantatas for Winter Winds: Discover Boismortier’s Four Seasons

note: Links indicate further information is available on related topics. Most are independent, but some help support this web site.

The North Wind attempts to blow the traveler's cloak off him. Illustration by Milo Winter from The Aesop for Children (1919).
The North Wind attempts to blow the traveler’s cloak off him. Illustration by Milo Winter from The Aesop for Children (1919).

People frequently declare our time the Social Era. You’ve heard that term before, haven’t you? We won’t find naming winter storms among Nilofer Merchant’s new Rules for the Social Era, but lately our human tendency to personify everything inanimate has been applied in yet another way.

We’re far from the only culture with this tendency to look at the world around us and create characters. Every culture has! If we look back in time, the wind and weather provide good examples. (Pssst! Would you like to add a word to your vocabulary? There’s a term for making characters of wind and weather. Doing this is called physitheism.)

I hope that crazy word didn’t blow you away! It is pretty abstract, and might leave you groping for examples. So what were some of these breezy, gusty epithets, and how far back in history do they go? Read more

Human Nature and Nature’s Humanity: Snowy Wreaths and Frosty Branches Portray a Poet’s Elderly Friend

note: Often the purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Most links are independent, but some help support this web site.

a view of birch trees in the snowA human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species. The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.

Carl Jung

The Silver Locks (1809)
by Felicia Hemans

“addressed to an aged friend”

Though youth may boast the curls that flow
In sunny waves of auburn glow;
As graceful on thy hoary head
Has Time the robe of honor spread,
And there, oh! softly, softly shed
His wreath of snow!

As frost-work on the trees display’d Read more

The Best Resource for January Garden Tips

a snow-covered scene painted in Hungary with open countryside, low hills, and trees in the distance, all under a fresh blue sky; the artist is József Rippl-Rónai (1861–1927)
Winter, also known as Hills in Somogy, Undated
József Rippl-Rónai (1861–1927)

In the past I’ve mentioned the potential value of discarded holiday greens and–if you’re snow-free–to look out for discarded or unwanted mums. There’s always more and more . . . and more timely seasonal advice to say, so that’s why I wanted to let you know there’s a resource that covers it all. Read more