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Quotations about Winter


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He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.... In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866


And there is quite a different sort of conversation around a fire than there is in the shadow of a beech tree.... [F]our dry logs have in them all the circumstance necessary to a conversation of four or five hours, with chestnuts on the plate and a jug of wine between the legs. Yes, let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius. ~Pietro Aretino, translated from Italian


[W]hat a severe yet master artist old Winter is.... No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866


Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. ~Hugh Macmillan, "Rejuvenescence," The Ministry of Nature, 1871


If the October days were a cordial like the sub-acids of fruit, these are a tonic like the wine of iron. Drink deep or be careful how you taste this December vintage. The first sip may chill, but a full draught warms and invigorates. ~John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"


There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. ~Ruth Stout


It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. ~John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"


I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. ~Andrew Wyeth


The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866


Every mile is two in winter. ~Witts Recreations: Selected from the Finest Fancies of Modern Muses, with A Thousand Outlandish Proverbs, edited by George Herbert


Nature has many scenes to exhibit, and constantly draws a curtain over this part or that. She is constantly repainting the landscape and all surfaces, dressing up some scene for our entertainment. Lately we had a leafy wilderness; now bare twigs begin to prevail, and soon she will surprise us with a mantle of snow. Some green she thinks so good for our eyes that, like blue, she never banishes it entirely from our eyes, but has created evergreens. ~Henry David Thoreau, Nov. 8, 1858


To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring. ~W.J. Vogel


The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer. I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to Literature, summer the tissues and blood. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866


Winter bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail. ~Montenegrin Proverb


Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
     Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
     And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
     Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
     Be through my lips to unawakened earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O, wind,
     If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
~Percy Bysshe Shelley


In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. ~William Blake


What a wild winter sound,— wild and weird, up among the ghostly hills.... I get up in the middle of the night to hear it. It is refreshing to the ear, and one delights to know that such wild creatures are among us. At this season Nature makes the most of every throb of life that can withstand her severity. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866


Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


The life of man is a winter away. ~Witts Recreations: Selected from the Finest Fancies of Modern Muses, with A Thousand Outlandish Proverbs, edited by George Herbert


But Fielding lived when the days were longer (for time, like money, is measured by our needs), when summer afternoons were spacious, and the clock ticked slowly in the winter evenings. ~George Eliot, Middlemarch


[E]very winter,
When the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into the vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay—
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses...
~Charles Kingsley, Junior, The Saint's Tragedy; or, The True Story of Elizabeth of Hungary, Landgravine of Thuringia, Saint of the Romish Calendar


Winter is a time of promise because there is so little to do — or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so. ~Stanley Crawford, A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm, 1992


One kind word can warm three winter months. ~Japanese Proverb


The sunbeams are welcome now. They seem like pure electricity—like friendly and recuperating lightning. Are we led to think electricity abounds only in summer, when we see in the storm-clouds as it were, the veins and ore-beds of it? I imagine it is equally abundant in winter, and more equable and better tempered. Who ever breasted a snowstorm without being excited and exhilarated, as if this meteor had come charged with latent auroræ of the North, as doubtless it has? It is like being pelted with sparks from a battery. ~John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"


Of winter's lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer's secret
Deep down within its heart.
~Charles G. Stater


We feel cold, but we don't mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that. ~Philip Pullman, Northern Lights


Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours." ~Robert Byrne


One of my current pet theories is that the winter is a kind of evangelist, more subtle than Billy Graham, of course, but of the same stuff. ~Shirley Ann Grau


Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.


All sounds are sharper in winter; the air transmits better. At night I hear more distinctly the steady roar of the North Mountain. In summer it is a sort of complacent purr, as the breezes stroke down its sides; but in winter always the same low, sullen growl. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866


The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination. ~Terri Guillemets


Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat. ~Author Unknown


Let there be a cottage.... a real cottage... a white cottage, embowered with flowering shrubs, so chosen as to unfold a succession of flowers upon the walls, and clustering round the windows through all the months of spring, summer, and autumn—beginning, in fact, with May roses, and ending with jasmine. Let it, however, not be spring, nor summer, nor autumn—but winter, in his sternest shape. This is a most important point in the science of happiness. And I am surprised to see people overlook it, and think it matter of congratulation that winter is going; or, if coming, is not likely to be a severe one. On the contrary, I put up a petition annually, for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm, of one kind or other, as the skies can possibly afford us. Surely every body is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a winter fire-side: candles at four o'clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without... ~Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater


Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. ~From the movie An Affair to Remember, written by Delmer Daves, Donald Ogden Stewart, Leo McCarey, and Mildred Cram


Brew me a cup for a winter's night.
For the wind howls loud, and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I'll toast your bright eyes, my sweetheart fair.
~Minna Thomas Antrim, "A Night Cap," A Book of Toasts, 1902


I was just thinking, if it is really religion with these nudist colonies, they sure must turn atheists in the wintertime. ~Will Rogers


One faire day in winter makes not birds merrie. ~Witts Recreations: Selected from the Finest Fancies of Modern Muses, with A Thousand Outlandish Proverbs, edited by George Herbert


Blow, blow, thou Winter Wind,
Thou art not so unkind, as Man's Ingratitude...
~William Shakespeare, As You Like It


In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold. ~Ben Aaronovitch, Broken Homes


[A] winter evening.... fruits which cannot be ripened without weather stormy or inclement, in some way or other. I am not "particular," as people say, whether it be snow, or black frost, or wind so strong, that (as Mr.— says) "you may lean your back against it like a post." I can put up even with rain, provided it rains cats and dogs: but something of the sort I must have: and, if I have it not, I think myself in a manner ill-used: for why am I called on to pay so heavily for winter, in coals, and candles, and various privations that will occur even to gentlemen, if I am not to have the article good of its kind?... [A] winter night... must be divided by a thick wall of dark nights from all return of light and sunshine.—From the latter weeks of October to Christmas-eve, therefore, is the period during which happiness is in season, which, in my judgment, enters the room with the tea-tray... ~Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater


The English winter—ending in July,
To recommence in August...
~Lord Byron


There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter. ~Billy Connolly


Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless. ~Terri Guillemets


Though it was scarcely six o'clock, the night was already pitch-dark. The fog, made thicker by its proximity to the Seine, blurred every detail with its ragged veils, punctured at various distances by the reddish glow of streetlamps and threads of light escaping from illuminated windows. The rain-drenched pavement glistened under the lamps like a lake reflecting strings of lights. A bitter wind, heavy with sleet, whipped at my face, its howling forming the high notes of a symphony whose bass was played by swollen waves crashing into the piers of the bridges below. The evening lacked none of winter's rough poetry. ~Théophile Gautier, translated from French (compiled from multiple translations)


When dark December glooms the day,
And takes our autumn joys away...
~Walter Scott


[W]inter tames man, woman and beast.... ~William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew (Grumio)


It is said that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer. ~Author Unknown


Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers...
~Thomas Campion, The Third Booke of Ayres


Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o'erflow with wine...
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.
~Thomas Campion, The Third Booke of Ayres


Our destiny often looks like a fruit-tree in winter. Who would think from its pitiable aspect that those rigid boughs, those rough twigs could next spring again be green, bloom, and even bear fruit? Yet we hope it, we know it. ~Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Wilhelm Meister's Travels, translated from German by A.H. Gunlogson, from the later and enlarged edition


Winter giveth the fields, and the trees so old,
Their beards of icicles and snow...
~Charles duc d’Orléans, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


In winter there is no heat, no light, no noon, evening touches morning, there is fog, and mist, the window is frosted, and you cannot see clearly. The sky is but the mouth of a cave. The whole day is the cave.... Frightful season! Winter changes into stone the water of heaven and the heart of man. ~Victor Hugo, Les Misérables: Fantine, translated from French by Chas. E. Wilbour


I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood. ~Bill Watterson


Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. It is no season in which to wander the world as if one were the wind blowing aimlessly along the streets without a place to rest, without food, and without time meaning anything to one, just as time means nothing to the wind. ~Edith Sitwell


He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth and freezes up frail life.
~William Blake (1757-1827), "To Winter"


What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. ~Author Unknown


June suns, you cannot store them To warm the winter's cold...
~A.E. Housman


Winter is a long, open time. The nights are as dark as the end of the world. ¶ The elk that you glimpse in the summer, those at the forest edge, are survivors of winter, only the strongest. You see one just before dusk that summer, standing at the perimeter of the meadow so it can step back to the forest and vanish. You can't help imagining the still, frozen nights behind it, so cold that the slightest motion is monumental. I have found their bodies, half drifted over in snow, no sign of animal attack or injury. Just toppled over one night with ice working into their lungs. You wouldn't want to stand outside for more than a few minutes in that kind of weather. If you lived through only one of those winters the way this elk has, you would write books about it. You would become a shaman. You would be forever changed. That elk from the winter stands there on the summer evening, watching from beside the forest. It keeps its story to itself. ~Craig Childs, The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild


[M]y age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly.... (Adam)
[H]ow well in thee appears
The constant service of the antique world;
When service sweat for duty, not for meed! (Orlando)
~William Shakespeare, As You Like It


The autumn twilight turned into deep and early night as they walked. Tristran could smell the distant winter on the air—a mixture of night-mist and crisp darkness and the tang of fallen leaves.... the crescent moon hung white in the sky and the stars burned in the darkness above them. ~Neil Gaiman, Stardust


The days are short
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
~John Updike, "January," A Child’s Calendar, 1965


It is a spur that one feels at this season more than at any other. How nimbly you step forth! The woods roar, the waters shine, and the hills look invitingly near. You do not miss the flowers and the songsters, or wish the trees or fields any different, or heavens any nearer. Every object pleases.... the straight light-gray trunks of the trees... how curious they look, and as if surprised in undress. ~John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"


Are the days of winter sunshine just as sad for you, too? When it is misty, in the evenings, and I am out walking by myself, it seems to me that the rain is falling through my heart and causing it to crumble into ruins. ~Gustave Flaubert


February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March. ~J.R. Stockton


I watch the springs, the summers, the autumns;
And when comes the winter snow monotonous,
I shut all the doors and shutters
To build in the night my fairy palace.
~Charles Baudelaire, "Paysage," compiled from multiple translations


Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter's evening, when dusk almost hides the body,
and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day. ~Virginia Woolf, Night and Day


Winter is not a season, it's an occupation. ~Sinclair Lewis


What nutriment can I extract from these bare twigs? Starvation stares me in the face. "Nay, nay," said a nuthatch, making its way, head downward, about a bare hickory close by, "The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat.... If at any time the weather is too bleak and cold for you, keep the sunny side of the trunk, for a wholesome and inspiring warmth is there, such as the summer never afforded...." "Hear! hear!" screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, "winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it."... [A] red squirrel... came running down a slanting bough, and as he stopped twirling a nut, called out rather impudently, "Look here! just get a snug-fitting fur coat and a pair of fur gloves like mine, and you may laugh at a northeast storm." ~Henry David Thoreau, Nov. 8, 1858


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 is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. ~Victor Hugo


Winter, then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees. It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run. And what it did to Northern forests can hardly be described, considering that it iced the branches of the sycamores on Chrystie Street and swept them back and forth until they rang like ranks of bells. ~Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale, 1983


Thus sometimes hath the brightest Day a Cloud;
And after Summer, evermore succeeds
Barren Winter, with his wrathful nipping Cold...
~William Shakespeare, King Henry VI


The shed of leaves became a cascade of red and gold and after a time the trees stood skeletal against a sky of weathered tin. The land lay bled of its colors. The nights lengthened, went darker, brightened in their clustered stars. The chilled air smelled of woodsmoke, of distances and passing time. Frost glimmered on the morning fields. Crows called across the pewter afternoons. ~James Carlos Blake, Wildwood Boys


Find more season quotes and poems at:
The Spirit of Gardening



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Last modified 2014 Jan 18 Sat 19:22 PST


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