March 27, 2014

Winter to Spring: Snow Cover to Snowdrop Blooms




CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.


The WordPress weekly writing challenge for March 3, 2014, is threes:

write a post using three photographs for inspiration.

March 1, 2014

According to a Tribune-Review article This winter has been so bad, it’s spawned a whole new vocabulary to express the misery many persons (except winter sports enthusiasts):

  • The Weather Channel began naming winter storms and the term Polar Vortex entered normal conversation
  • …a pair of Midwestern meteorologists developed a way to measure winter’s severity—their Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index, which ranks winters from category one (the least severe) to category five (the most severe).
    The meteorologists studied two dozen cities, using a combination of accumulated and daily snowfall and daily high and low temperatures to calculate the severity of winter weather, but exempts wind chill and ice storms.

Sadly, the big city of Pittsburgh, around which I’ve lived all but five years of my adult life, wasn’t one of the two dozen cities chosen for the study. To make amends, index co-creator (Steve Hilberg, a meteorologist at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center at the University of Illinois) crunched the Pittsburgh numbers.

And he declared the city had just edged into a category five winter.

March 1 in Moldovan

 March 1 is a national Moldovan holiday, a day when people present each other with the traditional flowers. One old Moldovan legend says that once in a fight with the winter witch, that didn’t want to give up its place, the beautiful lady Spring cut her finger and few drops of her blood fell on the snow, which melted. Soon on this place grew a snowdrop and in such a way the spring won the winter.

March 12, 2014

A late evening heavy snowfall amidst a few days hinting of spring, with temperatures reaching toward 500 F. Late in the evening it begins to snow. I quickly retrieve my camera and snap a photograph of the apple tree. The flash reveals the thousands—no, perhaps millions—of large snowflakes.

Looking closely at the picture later I wonder—could it be? Under the old apple tree? Could it be snowdrop stems attempting to reach through the snow blanket toward the stars?

IMG_3423E 140312

Snowdrops are a traditional flower for January. Native to Switzerland, Austria and of Southern Europe, its blooms look like drops of milk hanging from a stem—thus, its Latin name Galanthus, which means milk-white flowers.

In myth the snowdrop symbolizes promise—a promise to break winter’s spell and bring back spring. The snowdrop has a split reputation. The following tale tellw of its emblematic meaning of consolation/promise or death.
“When the first winter lay white upon the earth, Eve sorely missed the beautiful things of the fields. An angel who pitied her seized a flake of the driving snow and, breathing on it, bade it live, for her delight. It fell to the earth a flower, which Eve caught to her breast with gladness, for not only did it break the spell of winter, but it carried assurance of divine mercy. Hence the flower means consolation and promise.

March 16, 2014

No snow. Temperatures enable me to remove the purple and the blue Christmas bulbs from the outside shrubbery. A nice break from the continual phone calls in the wee hours of the morning, calls that inform me that the Ligonier Valley School district is indeed closing for the day due to the region’s severe winter weather.

Not today.

I step outside my back door, set my booted foot on the spring-muddy driveway, and walk to the apple tree. Yes, droplets of milky-white blossoms mark the arrival of spring.

Well, perhaps. Wishful thinking. Last year we had a late-April snowstorm.

It is the year’s earliest flowering bulb, are usually borne singly on stems that arch like they can’t handle the weight of the light blooms.

The snowdrop is variously known in England, France, Italy, and Switzerland as virgin flower, snow piercer, winter gallant, firstling, blackbird flower, little snow bell, little white bell, baby bell, spring whiteness, and white violet, bulbous violet,fair maid of February,Candlemas bells, Mary’s tapers.

Its scientific name is galanthus nivalis (nivalis is a Latin adjective, meaning ~relating to~ or ~resembling snow). It belongs to

  • Kingdom, Plantae
    Division Magnoliophyta
    Class liliopsida
    Family Amaryllidaceae
    Genus Galanthus (Greek in origin, the word signifies Milk white flower).


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