It's been a cold start to the year without much good snow to play in; my focus has been indoors. The fires have been warm, the work has been interesting, and I learned to roast potatoes in the wood stove. For a while now, some seeds have been sitting on my dresser that I meant to snow-sow where the juniper had been- every day's had a reason to hold off until tomorrow. I finally got out to scatter them this morning. It was cold and very bright, and once I started winter garden work, I found myself re-engaged with my frozen yard and ready to do a hundred other little things.
I used the word "work" about the winter garden, but of course, the interesting thing about the garden in January is that it is has nothing to do with work. It's mostly about observation and enjoying sun as the days get longer. I wandered around looking at the shapes of things and contemplating different ways to prune my fruit trees. The opal plum I planted two years ago has little spurs, now, but the schoolhouse plum next to it looks youthful and uninterested in flowering.
Winter gives the impression of sameness, but there is always a surprise behind one door or another. There were deer tracks in our yard (we rarely get deer) and when I pruned some branches off the hemlock, I found the rings inside beautiful- rosy and dark. There's a new path, now, from the backdoor to the sidewalk. The hemlock above it has thousand of little cones cones, too small to call attention from a distance.