Love Notes: things to love mid-winter


This photo was from a much warmer day (last summer), but it seemed perfect for a post about love… 

I meant to get this blog posted yesterday, for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t, and here’s why…

Another blizzard. More snow predicted. But here’s the thing: it missed us. (Collective sigh, followed by a cheer.) Various predictions said we’d get one to two more feet of snow out of this storm, adding to the four feet of snow already on the ground. Instead we woke up to two inches! Yesterday was a flurry of activity to get ready for the possible power outage, being snowed in, etc. We even succumbed to the “bread and milk” grocery run, except since we were baking bread and I’m lactose intolerant, instead we bought flour and yeast. (By the way, if you haven’t seen the hilarious bread and milk youtube video, here’s a link.)

Here are a few more things I love this month:

For my post on Writer Unboxed yesterday I asked other Writer Unboxed writers to contribute Valentines to Writing. Why and how they love writing. Check out “Writing…Will You Be My Valentine?” to see the twenty wonderful love letters, poems, and words about writing. I loved compiling this Valentine box of words.

At Great New Books this month I posted a recommendation for Roz Chast’s graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. I saw this book as a long love letter to her parents (as they went through the aging process). The book is at turns hilarious and heartbreaking and Chast is amazing at expressing feelings through her cartoons. I loved this book.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of Common Ravens. These massive black birds, “cousins” of the crow, are larger than a Red-tailed Hawk, and I don’t see them often in Maine. (I don’t think… they are solitary birds so if I saw one alone, without comparison to another bird, I might think it’s a crow—crows weigh about half as much, but without comparison, this difference is hard to see). You can tell ravens from crows in flight by the raven’s wedge-shaped tail. I saw a lot of ravens in the west when I drove across the country, but it’s really spectacular to see them in the snow. The contrast is beautiful and striking. I haven’t gotten a photo of one yet, but I would love to by the end of the winter.


Winter is far from over. This is a shot of the Cousins Island Bridge, looking toward the mainland.

Winter…which is far from over, despite the lack of snow from this particular blizzard. We are in the deep chill, with temperatures well below freezing (we’ve had thirteen days below zero in February; I don’t love that). I still go out and take photos, but with clear skies, sunrises and sunsets are less spectacular (we’ve had a few good ones), most boats are out of the water, and it’s harder to get access to beautiful areas—the snow banks are huge.

Another thing I really love today is that it’s only 32 days until the Spring Equinox. And even though I’m sure we’ll still have snow on the ground, there’s a lot of hope resting on that day!

How’s your winter going? What do you love this month?


  1. Lisa says:

    I love this post. It’s good to hear you celebrating in the midst of the cold and snow. I actually love winter. I’m just tired of having to reconfigure my classes because they never meet.

    • I can only imagine the reconfiguring of things… my calendar has been problematic without anyone but me really depending on it. Celebrations mid winter seem essential to keeping perspective… so glad you enjoyed this!

  2. Dana says:

    I’m so glad to hear the blizzard spared you this time around! We only got a few inches here in PA but it’s so cold there’s not much chance to get out. We’re going a bit stir crazy inside with the kids, but we discovered a new (to us) cool thing – live cams of birds and other animals in the wild.

    As much as I hate freezing weather I do enjoy watching snow fall. Today the wind is picking up gusts of white powdery snow and swirling it around. Lovely to look at, but I’m looking forward to spring!

    • The cold really is the biggest inhibitor isn’t it? I love the wild bird/animal cams!! What a great mid-winter activity for kids. Your description of swirling powdery snow is exactly what I’m seeing, too! Thanks for your visit to my blog and your comment… here’s to spring.

  3. The snow was falling here very lightly yesterday and it was beautiful. Like a postcard. I always think it’s magical — but we don’t have 4+ feet on the ground!

    Looking ahead to spring… I’ve been thinking about signing up for a Birds of Central Park tour. I know very little about birds and I’d love to see some of the species on their migration up from the South. I’m surprised that there are any birds still hanging around your area. 🙂 With all that snow they should have left for sunnier climes long ago.

    • It is like a postcard! And it’s magical. And as much as four feet is enough, there’s a part of me a little sad that we won’t get to see what 6 feet looks like (like in Boston)! Just for the heck of it… not worth the shoveling. I love the sounds of the Birds of Central Park tour. We have so many winter birds (even some of the robins stick around!), and I always wonder what on earth happens to them on windy winter days like these!?

  4. Julia–
    It’s good to learn you are able to celebrate anything at all in the middle of a Maine winter. As a lifelong Michigander (or Michiganian as some insist on saying), I used to think winter held its own special, glacial charm. But that was then, this now. For me these days, in my dotage, the only way to redeem the Hour of the Wolf phase of winter is to spend it in Naples, Florida.

  5. Cherry Harris says:

    Hi Julia ..
    What I love about this month is giving yourself permission to curl up with a good book ( especially when it’s a friend called Julia ‘s book) . I am half way through your book and completely immersed in it . I used to be an insomniac and would get though books really quick but now I sleep better ( which is good and bad ) so when I finish your lovely book I will give you a full review . I have some friends who want to read it after me so you are becoming popular here in Wales .
    Daffodils and Snowdrops …are what I love about this time of year . Just took the dog down the land and the hedges are full of them just waiting to come into full bloom .

    • Thank you for making my day, Cherry!! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, and I love the thought of my book being enjoyed in Wales. Especially amidst the daffodils and snowdrops… that sounds lovely and gives me hope for spring to return. Somewhere under the four feet of snow are my daffodils and tulips waiting to emerge 🙂 You gave me two things to smile about, thank you!

      • Cherry Harris says:

        So glad I made you as happy, as you made me, when I saw your book poking out of my dilapidated post box lol

  6. Kristen says:

    Now you’ve got me wondering…whether it’s been ravens or crows in our yards all these years! Nothing much to add here but that I hope that spring comes early/soon for all of us. Hang in there, up there! 🙂

    • Yes, I hope for spring soon, too… about to start veggie garden planning, have you already finished planning? Do you plant seeds inside? As for ravens vs. crows… if they’re alone then it’s possible they’re ravens (very solitary). The trick is to see the tail in flight. I am fascinated by both ravens and crows, though 🙂

  7. Brr! I can’t decide if I’m jealous of your snow or grateful for our warmth. Snow sure is pretty, but I’m not a big fan of the cold. I am trudging through this winter as best I can, but I always end up feeling sort of sluggish by the end of the day. Do you get that way this time of year? I admire your attitude. I’m already looking forward to spring!