Tag Archives: Georgics

Venit Hiems (Winter Arrives)

My favorite season in New England is winter.  Most people that I encounter dread the cold and the snow, but I find it relaxing and cozy when I wake up on a day like today and find a winter wonderland outside my window.  My view from every window in the house is one of stark whiteness and yet comfort for me.

The view from my back deck which overlooks a pond.  The pond is frozen over with a pristine coating of powdery snow. 

 

The view from my dining room looking up towards the driveway

 

The gazebo covered in a layer of fresh snow. 

 

The view from my kitchen looking out over the snowy woods.

 

Our Cape Cod style home with the wrap around porch looks best to me with a  fresh dusting of pure, white snow

 

Vergil’s agricultural poem The Georgics, describes the usefulness of winter for farmers and this passage in particular captures my feelings about winter as a time to slow down, reflect and make time for the little things for which we are usually too busy.  In Georgics 1.299-310 he writes about winter:

..hiems ignaua colono:
frigoribus parto agricolae plerumque fruuntur               300
mutuaque inter se laeti conuiuia curant.
inuitat genialis hiems curasque resoluit,
ceu pressae cum iam portum tetigere carinae,
puppibus et laeti nautae imposuere coronas.
sed tamen et quernas glandes tum stringere tempus               305
et lauri bacas oleamque cruentaque myrta,
tum gruibus pedicas et retia ponere ceruis
auritosque sequi lepores, tum figere dammas
stuppea torquentem Balearis uerbera fundae,
cum nix alta iacet, glaciem cum flumina trudunt.

…Winter is relaxing for the farmer:
During the period of cold farmers especially enjoy their lot
And they merrily engage in shared feasts with one another.
Friendly winter gives them rest and releases them from cares,
Just as when laden ships finally touch the port
and the happy sailors places garlands on their decks.
But now is the time to strip acorns from the oaks
and berries from the laurel tree and olives and the blood-red myrtle,
Now is time to place down the traps for the cranes and snares for
the stags and to chase the long-eared hares, now is the time to
strike the deer by hurling the hempen thong of a Balearian sling,
when the snow lies deep and when the rivers force along the ice.*

Although I will not be hurling a Balerian sling at deer or gathering acorns, I am taking the time today to enjoy the cozy fire, read some fabulous books, sip my favorite tea and spend time with my family.  When a winter storm is raging outside it provides me with a serene sense of peace and calm like nothing else and it forces me to slow down and enjoy the simple things.

*Translation of the Latin text is my own

 

 

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