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Friday, January 9th, 2009

Finding beauty in winter's dreariness

By Betty Lawrence
I have always felt the months of January and February were bleak, dreary and never-ending.
But due to circumstances beyond my control, I've had the rare opportunity these past few weeks to study what Mother Nature affords us in these early months of the new year, despite winter's wrath.
I have had a revelation, of sorts and now believe that January has a stark beauty all its own.
Last fall I decided not to cut back the dried perennials in my garden beds. The result has been worth it as the beds are filled with plants in many hues of brown, from dark cone flowers and black-eyed Susans to the much lighter tan-colored primroses. Against a blanket of newly fallen white snow, brown never looked so pretty.
Birds also love the plants, offering them safe haven against the cold January winds. And of course let's not forget the chamois-colored ornamental grasses that sway and dance in the wind.
A few days ago, ice encased everything outside, providing yet another brief (thankfully) natural beauty. When the sun began shining, the berries on the crabapple trees began dripping and the evergreens lost their acrylic look, but not before I had time to digest the wondrous scenery.
You know, maybe it's not a revelation after all. Maybe January has been doable for me because I haven't had to don my coat, hat, boots, mittens, etc. and trudge out into the frigid air each morning to go to work. And let's not forget cleaning the snow and ice off the car to get back home to do it again the next day.
In the near future, I will be hitting the office again each morning, which makes me believe that February won't be nearly as beautiful and reflective as January.
That's reality, but until then, happy winter.
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