Jan 8 2011

Winter is a strange thing in the south, where we can have days that feel like summer, followed by weeks that certainly don’t. After starting the New Year with bright, warm weather we are now back to bright and cold winds. It is exhilarating to walk with the dog, but I’ve put my gloves on.

I’m still reading about Victorian women tramping in exotic deserts in search of antiquities to crate up and ship back to their “civilized” countries (where most remain to this day, but only the citizens of the original countries will call it “looting”). But in the meantime, in honor of the winter winds:

Avoid the month Lenaeon, wretched days, all of them
fit to skin an ox, and the frosts which are cruel when Boreas blows over
the earth. He blows across horse-breeding Thrace upon the wide sea and
stirs it up, while earth and the forest howl. On many a high-leafed
oak and thick pine he falls and brings them to the bounteous earth in
mountain glens: then all the immense wood roars and the beasts shudder
and put their tails between their legs, even those whose hide is covered
with fur; for with his bitter blast he blows even through them although
they are shaggy-breasted. He goes even through an ox’s hide; it does not
stop him. Also he blows through the goat’s fine hair. But through the
fleeces of sheep, because their wool is abundant, the keen wind Boreas
pierces not at all; but it makes the old man curved as a wheel. And it
does not blow through the tender maiden who stays indoors with her
dear mother, unlearned as yet in the works of golden Aphrodite, and who
washes her soft body and anoints herself with oil and lies down in an
inner room within the house, on a winter’s day when the Boneless One
gnaws his foot in his fireless house and wretched home; for the
sun shows him no pastures to make for, but goes to and fro over the land
and city of dusky men, and shines more sluggishly upon the whole
race of the Hellenes. Then the horned and unhorned denizens of the wood,
with teeth chattering pitifully, flee through the copses and glades, and
all, as they seek shelter, have this one care, to gain thick coverts or
some hollow rock. Then, like the Three-legged One whose back is
broken and whose head looks down upon the ground, like him, I say, they
wander to escape the white snow.

–Hesiod, from Works and Days (via Project Gutenberg).