It’s cold and still and the sky is gray. Every once in a while, a new snowflake spins past my window and promises more will follow. Deep cold is on the way, and all of nature knows it. No birds, no squirrels, no blue shadows on the snow. Only quiet introspection. Stirred by winter’s majesty this morning, I was compelled to put words to it.
He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.
There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.
Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.
The phrase for today is ~ Break the ice
We’ve all heard this one before. It means to break down formality and stiffness in social situations. But did you know the phrase has maritime origins?
It shows up in print when Sir Thomas North translated Plutarch’s Lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes in 1579. The earlier meaning according to Plutarch is to forge a path for others to follow. He was referring to breaking ice on waters so ships could pass.
In the late 1600s the phrase was noted by Samuel Butler when he wrote of a social event: “The Orator – At last broke silence, and the Ice.” Was he using a maritime phrase here or speaking of a frosty reception? Hard to say.
After the invention of specialized ice-breaking ships in the 1800s, we see the phrase reverting to its original meaning. Ice becomes a metaphor for something that must be broken through before things can get underway. A sailor of sorts, Mark Twain ties it all together when he wrote: “They closed up the inundation with a few words – having used it, evidently, as a mere ice-breaker and acquaintanceship-breeder – then they dropped into business.”
If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A new year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!
Sample my scorching love stories for free!