One Winter Morning

Pastel Essay and Text by Claire Blatchford

I wake to darkness.

It’s freezing outside, I can feel the cold like a skin around the house but the warmth inside holds close and steady. I get into my warmest robe, socks and slippers, and walk from window to window upstairs, then downstairs.


In the east, whiteness of snow outlines the black of the woods.
I wait and watch as a pale blue sky emerges.

Then orange, then yellow, then pulsating gold…
Then—suddenly—among dark tree trunks and branches, the orange, red, yellow, gold blossom of the day bursts into view.


The colors are dispersing rapidly—so rapidly I hurry to a southern window to see what’s there, and find exquisite frost feathers spiraling over the panes.


From yet another window facing south, the rise and fall of snow waves in the yard below, shaped by the wind playing through, around, and over the snow fence, come into view.


Looking next to the west, it’s easy to make out the elegant, steady presence of our evergreen friends. For a minute I wonder if I am looking out or they are looking in!

They make me stand straighter.
I salute them.


Then I return to the east, to the window that looks into the spruce by our back door.

And there—looking as though it might have been left in the nook of a branch by the rising sun—is a scoop of deep red!


The dog hears my exclamation and begs to go out to see what I see.

The darkness has flowed into brightness, colors, surprises…
I open the door.

The day has begun.