In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), In the Bleak MidwinterIt was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
– Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, 1923Photo: Hagley Castle 1 by Tony Hisgett, CC By
Loreena McKennitt’s lovely rendition of Gustav Holst’s composition:
Ahh, a snow day! We had a lovely snowstorm Sunday night into Monday with somewhere around 6 to 8 inches, based on my dog wading through the drifts. I woke up around 2:30 a.m. and peeked outside at the flying snow. The bright otherworldy glow of a snowy night amazes me. Such a contrast to the soft evening light of a snowstorm in the day.
I love the snow. I grew up in Southern California where snow was that hazy, faraway stuff on the distant mountains that took far too many hours to drive to. So these days, while my husband groans and moans at the messy white stuff, the magical transformation of drear winter browns to glitter-white fairyland still raises a thrill for me.
Most of my stories have some snow in them and I enjoy writing the winter scenes. The treacherous beauty of a winter setting can add to the mood and the conflicts. Not only do the heroes and heroines have their adversaries to contend with, the winter weather is another challenge, as a snowfall, an ice storm or a frozen river confound the hopes and plans of good guys and bad guys alike.
Snow also can allow some of our characters to unbend and reveal a hidden playful side. The heart of one of my heroines begins to thaw toward the hero after watching him organize a snowball game with some children.
What do you love about snow in fiction and in real life?
Writing Prompt: Write a 250+ word descriptive passage for the castle snow scene above, adding in physical sensations and emotional reactions to the setting.
You are either leaving the castle or looking to reach it. Are you on foot (hmm, two legs or four paws? Or on wing for that matter), riding a horse, in a carriage or a car. Are you ready and dressed for the weather or caught by surprise? Coming home, escaping or seeking shelter?