Charles Simic meditates on the season:
My late father, who had something good to say about most things, used to console people who complained about bitter cold weather by reminding them of the joys of a hot bowl of soup and of a strong drink being made permissible early in the day by the extraordinary circumstances. In addition, he claimed that the cold concentrates the mind. The moment we step outdoors, we do what we have to do with uncommon intelligence and dispatch, unlike those folks who can afford to sit in the shade on some Mediterranean or Caribbean island. Once we lie down, time ceases to count and we can meditate on eternity, Cioran believed. History, he said, is the product of people who stand up and get busy. Can one be a dreamer or a dolt on the North Pole? My father had his doubts about that.
(Photo: A tree stands in the fog in a snow covered landscape near Wiesbaden, western Germany on January 7, 2011. By Frank Rumpenhorst/Getty.)