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Midwinter Garden in the Midwest

January 29, 2020


Dreaming of a Midwinter Garden in the Midwest


By Alice Jane-Marie Massa


As this January of 2020 has been slipping by very quickly, we are ready to celebrate No-Polar-Vortex Day; however, we bask in the state of no sunshine and none predicted in the five-day forecast. On the front “lawn,” south side of my townhouse, the snow remains so crispy, crusty, and hard that my Leader Dog Willow and I have not even been leaving boot-prints nor paw-prints. I prefer my snow light and fluffy–the soft variety. Is Mother Nature listening? Yes, yes, the sidewalks are clear of snow–but too many are still generously decorated with salt and sand. Fortunately, the gravel is gone. While some curbs are in good condition for pedestrians of the human and dog variety, other curbs are of the “Travel-at-Your-Own-Risk” type. Since Willow and I are “Frequent Flyers” at our local post office, I hereby make special note of the down curb and up curb which are nearest to our post office. Twelve days after the major snowfall–and after two calls to the alderman’s office, two calls to the city hall, one conversation with the post office supervisor, one call to the ADA office of the city, one promise from the alderman’s office, and today’s one new promise from someone who left a positive message for me as she was obviously looking at the intersection and curb in question via (I assume) a GPS device and the internet–I hope that Willow and I can resume our usual errands at our favorite post office. Of course, the area of concern is just a few yards away from the trolley tracks which have been spotlessly free of snow throughout the past twelve days–as the tracks should be. However, not all of that snow from the four tracks needs to be deposited at the curb areas of the crosswalk to the post office. Call the Postmaster General! (Perhaps, I should have called or e-mailed the Postmaster General!) Being a basically hopeful believer, I do happily anticipate that when Willow and I walk to the post office tomorrow morning, all will be reasonably clear for a straight crossing. (Cross your fingers and all of those cold toes!)


If only I had a midwinter garden, I know I could be more calm, peaceful, and relaxed–and toss my street-crossing concerns to the wind. Big red (fabric) poinsettias and my Garden Angel grace my front porch, but do not need much care during this midwinter. Having landed upon one of my outdoor tables, Garden Angel (height of approximately fifteen inches) rested in a cloud of snow up to her shoulders until a couple of days ago. In the midwinter in the Midwest, I do miss gardening. Thus, I have been thinking about one of my favorite poems which is in the “January section” of my book, THE CHRISTMAS CARRIAGE AND OTHER WRITINGS OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON. Below, you will find the fanciful poem which I first posted on WORDWALK almost exactly six years ago. (For those readers who are patrons of the Talking Book and Braille Libraries, on DBC 308305, you will hear the narrator sing the closing line of the poem.) On this January night, I hope my “Snowflake Garden” gives you a warm smile. (At the end of the poem, you will find a music recommendation for this time of the year.)



A Snowflake Garden


By Alice Jane-Marie Massa



For my winter garden,

I planted just a few snowflakes.

How they grew and multiplied!

With my shovel,

I transplanted some of them;

and they keep growing higher and higher.


From Mother Nature’s Nursery,

from one little seed of snow,

so much continues

to grow and grow.

The gray clouds and bitter wind,

the Polar Vortex and other such Arctic masses

have just been perfect for The Massa Snow Garden.


Would you like some seedlings of snow?

A snowflake garden has no weeds to pull,

no bugs or winter worms.


Dressed in my Alaska attire,

I tend to my bountiful harvest,

almost every day.

Still the snowflakes spread

like the most fertile of ground covers

to rival the summerside’s phlox and vincas.


Working in my snowflake garden,

I look toward the sky

and want to shout to Mother Nature:

“Enough already!

Tell all those angels

to stop crocheting snowflakes!”

How can such delicate, tiny works of art

amass to such a splendid mess?


No, no, I am channeling

my inner Snow-Angel attitude

and spreading some January Joy.

My mid-winter mantra is as follows:

I do not want to escape the Frozen Tundra!

I do like my little snowscape!

I like my snowflake garden!


Now, as I, in a more mellow mood,

continue to shovel,

to cultivate the delicate snowflakes of my garden,

I sing:

“Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, SNOW!”



Yours (almost) truly,

Alice in Snowland


First posted on WORDWALK: January 22, 2014, Wednesday


MUSICAL NOTE: Finally, I share with you a suggestion for listening via your smart-speaker or other medium. Please ask Alexa to play “In the Bleak Midwinter,” as performed by Julie Andrews. The lyrics of this song were based on the poem by Christina Rossetti (December 5, 1830-December 29, 1894). During the past couple of months of midwinter, I have listened to this musical selection many times.


Until our first February WORDWALK of 2020,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


January 29, 2020, Wednesday




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  1. Dear Alice,
    I am so happy that you shared your clever “Snowflake Garden” poem once again! Of all of your poems, it is one of my favorites! We have had a few snowflakes this evening—the first for the entire month of January! Today I read Ezra Jack Keats’ book A Snowy Day to my students and used their creative paper plate saucer sleds to decorate the bulletin board and perhaps to welcome the snowfall. Wishing you and Willow safe walks in the coming days!
    Love, Mary

  2. joanmyles permalink

    Love hering about your adventures out and about with Willow! And your fanciful Winter garden fills me with hope and delight while I wait for Springtime. blessings and sweetness, Alice. Wags and kisses from Ari. *yellow butterflies**snowflakes in moonlight*

    • Hello, Joan and Ari–Many thanks for your nice comment.  I wish I could have done a “before” and “after picture” of the curb.  When we are out-and-about, Willow is the “Queen of Caution” and takes such superb care of me.

      Talk with you soon–Alice — Paw waves from Willow to Ari!

  3. Sue permalink

    Alice–Can’t believe you are still having trouble getting to the P.O. Despite our many ways of communicating with modern gadgets, many of us still really depend on the USPS. On the issue of snow, our deciduous trees still have a lot of the snow on the trunks and branches and many spots of the driveway are still coated with ice making it a little hazardous–not to mention an ice dam on one of our old house additions. Oh, well, it takes a beautiful poem to make us see it in a different way, and snow is better than mud, at least when it comes to shoveling.–Sue

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