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Winter Returns

October 21, 2018

It's not even the end of October and yet, overnight, our first frost and our first freeze arrived together, hand in hand. While she's not here to stay, not yet, Winter is definitely coming. 

I dread it. But, as much as I dread winter, I discovered a couple of years ago that there were magical things going on in my winter garden. In the birdbath, of all places.

As the water freezes, delicate, exquisitely crafted formations appear. If I carefully melt the ice around its outside edge, I can flip the frozen disk over, exposing the beautiful little sculpted features below. It’s a fiddly process but, over the last couple of winters, I’ve sort of refined my technique.

This is my winter photography practice, communing with the ice. Every day is a surprise.

As I’ve battled with bipolar disorder and severe depression, which is particularly bad during the fall and winter, this has become one of my survival techniques. I think it has quite literally kept me alive.

It keeps me in the moment, it keeps me curious, and it reminds me that, however bleak things seem, there’s always a little something beautiful to be found right in my own back yard. 


© Karen Opp James. All rights reserved.

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