Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Stark Landscape

Cold. Beautiful. Harsh

The land I have lived my life in. Your environment shapes who you become. Those of us who survive and thrive in this cold landscape are fashioned by it. We are an outwardly friendly, inwardly wary people. Tending to expect the worst and rarely disappointed.

There is something perverse in settling in such a hostile place when all you have is a wagon, a cow and a will to survive. I don't know how they did it. I don't know why they did it. Because they did, it seems we the reflections of our fore-bearers, stay. We complain, but we remain.


  1. Sandra, you really do have a wonderful eye for a beautiful photo; beautiful enough to make me miss winter! I am thinking what you say is true about our ancestors. Maybe that is why I am having such a hard time loving anything about this desert environment, except not having a REAL winter. We have rain for 3 days in a row, does that count?

  2. A great compliment of images and descriptive, reflective text Sandra.

    Your photo of the snow on the barn is amazing - scary even!

  3. Sandra, gorgeous photos, especially like those wicked sharp icicles. I agree with giant....you have a great eye for beauty...so I believe your tender heart is still safely in tact.

  4. Beautiful pictures Sandra. What tough strong people they were...courageous, always looking a better life and willing to suffer to get it.

  5. Thanks for the compliments everyone. Actually the landscape does all the work. I just push the button!

    Bonnie, someday I'll write about a roof collapse we had on the barn addition. It was right out of amazing rescues.

  6. What beautiful photos, esp that one of the barn! Your commentary is short but so introspective. I think even though we "remain", we have many more creature comforts to help us deal with this harsh environment than our ancestors did...which makes their accomplishments all the more amazing!

  7. This is only my second winter in the mid west so I am still learning. We shovel snow, we bundle up and we are happy to have a safe warm place to live. Your pictures of the snow look very like the ones here right now. The photos are so clear and sharp.

  8. I being a fellow Minnesotan was particularly struck by how you summed it up so beautifully with so few words. Absolutely capturing our essence! brilliant.

    p.s. love the new layout and header and all

  9. TechnoBabe, welcome to the misery! Amazing how much you appreciate a roof over your head in an unpleasant climate, isn't it.

    Jules, life is brutal for you all this AM. -20. Up there the people are VERY hardy.

  10. Love your photos.
    There is something magical about it all really.
    But I cannot fathom those long ago long days of it.
    I suppose they just settled in , in survival mode.

    My dog already had a great time out in the fresh stuff (not as deep as yours), they always know things about joy we forget.

    have a great day, stay cozy

  11. i've often thought about that...how environment shapes culture and even personality. i think it's why the scandinavians ended up in minnesota, it was like home (tho' the light is much more interesting in scandinavia--because it's so much more extreme--both in winter and summer). they were attracted to a climate where they could persevere and be rather introvert, like at home. it is amazing that they survived out there without mobile phones and the internet. :-)

    oh, and i love your photos!! snow is very photogenic, isn't it?


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