December 2009 Issue
Canvas of White
Winter is the king of showmen
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes
Smooth and clean and frosty white
The world looks good enough to bite
That’s the season to be young
Catching snowflakes on your tongue
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going
— Ogden Nash, “Winter Morning”
Nash had it right, didn’t he? Especially the part about slush. We know all about slush in Ohio. We are swamis of slush. Masters of motoring through it. Specialists in shoveling it. Wizards of walking in it. And gurus of griping about it.
In July and August, when most of those around me are complaining about the heat, I keep quiet. I am glad to be outdoors, warmed by the sun. In the blink of an eye, I know, it will be December and we will be cocooned by the cold.
Yes, yes, I know. One of the joys of the seasons — and we Ohioans are very familiar with all four of them — is looking forward to the next one, and the one after that. We seldom pause to revel in the moment.
We all have our favorite points on the thermometer, of course, but the degree of our delight seems to shoot up and down as quickly as the mercury. Which is why we decided to dwell on winter’s beauty this month. “Beautiful Ohio” begins on page 54.
We asked several of our favorite photographers — Rod Berry, David Fitzsimmons, Jim Noelker, Carl Stimac, Randall Schieber and Doyle Yoder — to give us scenes that capture the majesty of an Ohio winter from seasons past. And we asked one of our favorite writers, John Gladden, to articulate the uniqueness of this, the most dramatic season of them all.
“Only in winter is everything revealed,” John writes. “The covers are off and we can see the world for what it is: a living Grandma Moses painting, busy and colorful, bursting from a white canvas of new snow.”
John, it will not surprise you, loves to be out and about in the winter as much as many of us do in the spring, summer and fall. He is happy to take the cold and wind literally in stride — including the slush.
But whether we prefer to experience winter on the outside or from the inside looking out, here’s to enjoying “the king of showmen” while the performance lasts.