Snow’s Thousand Faces and Meanings

frozen snow mening pictures

I love snow in all its aspects, yet browsing through past holiday pictures I realized that snow has thousands of faces and meanings. From the simple joy of snowflakes to the excitement and rush of making a snow angel or a snowman; from the wonder of an icicle to the art nature instills in a frozen fence; or, simply, the unspoiled wonder the morning after a snow storm holds.

Join me in finding the different meanings that snow holds.

The weather channel announced the blizzard, so everyone was expecting it: the snowfall. It came over a few days, quietly falling, day after day. The ground has to be frozen, you see, for the snow to settle and we were holding thumbs that first day: freeze, freeze. Checking the windows every half an hour: does the tar still shows? Has a dusty layer of snow settled yet? It takes a couple of day, you know. And it starts with a skift, a light snowfall.

Then, one morning, we woke up to this:

snow thousand faces meanings

And to some footsteps left on our windowsill:

snow thousand faces meanings

Need I say how fast we got dressed to go outside? As fast as our endless layers of clothing allowed us, anyway. And this is what we saw:

snow thousand faces meanings

One of snow’s thousand faces certainly is wonder! Its meaning? Live in the moment.

snow thousand faces meanings

Let it snow… or make it snow!

I think you have to be very patient if you are a coniferous tree. And have lots of practice sitting perfectly still.

snow thousand faces meanings

Snow angels, through their serenity and peace, do confer winter a higher, spiritual meaning. But the joy that goes into making them certainly anchor the holiday season firmly into childhood. Maybe this symbol of winter is the fine, silver thread that connect so many hearts around the world, an universal language.

snow angel in winter. a spiritual meaning

And snowmen! Yet you need a certain type of snow to built one, it has to warm up a little, so the snow will release some heat that, in turn, will bound the snowflakes together and help them hold their shape.

a first winter's snowman

Then the onding, the heavy snow, returned. That’s a massive snowfall, but not big enough to be qualified as a blizzard. An onding is a regionalism used in Scotland and Northern England since the middle of the 18th century.

And a day later we walked to the shops…

The snow was THAT big:

Brave us, we traveled to Sighisoara by train, through snow. This will be a story on its own, but for now this is what we saw: grue, thin, floating ice:

grue, thin floating ice in Sighisoara
rollerblade on ice, snow, winter

Here is a first glimpse at Sighisoara, the amazing medieval city built along Târnava Mare River:

I have ambivalent feelings for the snow and ice clinging to a fence. It can be art, like this spiraled fence capped with snow:

snow on a fence in winter

Or this glowing, frozen chicken wire fence:

frozen chicken wire fence

Yet this barbed wire frozen in winter makes me wince:

barbed wire frozen in winter

I leave you with this: as spiky as a barbed wire, as graceful as a ice-skater’s blades, the icicle is wonder and physics combined:

Glowing icicle
Winter’s artful magic wand.
Alohomora!

For more winter poems and haiku:

Christmas Haiku
Christmas Haiku

Get Christmas Haiku from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, or worldwide.

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A Train Journey through Snow, in Romania

Taking a train journey through snow, between Bucharest and medieval Sighisora, in Romania, was an exciting and magical experience. Fresh snow blanketed the fields and the hills, while the trees were frozen in winter as the train approached the Carpathian Mountains.

train-journey-snow-romania

Snow is each new day’s promise for a new beginning. Everything is fresh, unspoiled, and the possibilities are endless. What shall it be today? Footprints? A snowball fight? A snowman? An icy fort?

train-journey-snow-romania

I bet the coniferous trees wait patiently all year round, till it’s winter time again. Then only do they begin to loose their patience. ‘Is she here yet, the snow?’

train-journey-snow-romania

The first promise of a colorful town awaiting at our destination:

train-journey-snow-romania

It snowed some more by the time we took the train journey back.

train-journey-snow-romania

Winter hangs in the air.
Like an artist after laying the first layer of paint, then stepping back to take in his creation, winter took a breather before going back to work.

train-journey-snow-romania

Sometimes, when you look in the distance snow seems to protect her own secrets…

train-journey-snow-romania

…secrets she is ready to share with you. Dare you step off the train and listen to her?

train-journey-snow-romania

Go ahead, go and listen. It’s not like you’re in Siberia. This isn’t Doctor Zhivago either, it’s just the Romanian plains where winter has only just began.

And pretty soon the sun smiles at us, on our train journey through snow and through Romania.

train journey snow Romania
train journey snow Romania
train journey snow Romania

I was happy to count two trees atop this hill. I like to think they keep each other company. Do trees wish one another Merry Christmas? Perhaps they do.

train journey snow Romania

An unusual, yet still typical sight for rural Romania, a cart pulled by a horse.

cart pulled by horse, rural Romania

A beautiful sight for fans of all things train-related, an old steam engine, a narrow-railed one.

Sighisoara steam engine old

All train stations we’ve been through in Romania have this train map that shows you exactly where to wait on the platform, depending on your wagon number. Believe me, it is extremely useful if you board a train before dawn or if you travel with children.

Sighisoara station

A sight for the brave ones:

Until next time 🙂

Who knows, we might even travel to Sighisoara together…

It falls, slides with joy
A dream? Longed for, urged, wished, hoped!
Winter’s first present.

From my Christmas Haiku book.

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5 Secrets Revealed in Silent Heroes. A Mysterious Underground Fortress

5 secrets hidden silent heroes - Qala-e-Bost fortress

I love books with secrets. Especially enigmatic locations kept hidden from the general public. While researching for my latest contemporary novel Silent Heroes, I uncovered five secrets and revealed them: one mysterious fortress buried underground, one hush-hushed by politicians, one too dangerous to be researched and shared with the world, one inconceivable in the 21st century, and one heartbreaking in its humanity.

Qala-e-Bost, Afghanistan’s secret fortress now featured in Silent Heroes

Unbeknown to many, near Lashkar Gah, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, rises the great fortress of Qala-e-Bost, an 11th-century castle that overlooks the life-giving Afghan River of Helmand. This is the mysterious fortress whose secrets are ready to bury the Silent Heroes. But will they give in?

Qala-e-Bost fortress, Afghanistan, a mysterious location in Silent Heroes

“The stones of Qala-e-Boost have seen wars as well as the joys of celebrations. They have known wealth and ruin. Early hymns of the Zoroastrian religion, one of the oldest religions in the world, were once performed here. One of them was the Nowruz, the famous ceremony dedicated to the Sun and marking the Iranian New Year and the Spring Equinox. Along the years Bost fortress has been used as a guard post for the traditional caravan trade from Iran to India. The Mongols, then the Persians have been here too; the Arabs, even the Russians. Leaders and warriors came here as attested by the terracotta figurines, the inscribed seals, and the many coins discovered here, and then they left.
Still, Bost remained.”

Silent Heroes
Qala-e-Bost fortress secrets andquote from Silent Heroes

Qala-e-Bost, a mysterious fortress hidden underground

The fascinating and less known detail about Qala-e-Bost fortress is that its five levels are underground and few visual images are available, let alone descriptions of its deep buried secret chambers: “the heart of the fortress, its well, going five levels underground. The well is a maze of corridors, stairs, secret rooms, and side entrances” (Silent Heroes).

So I threw my soldiers in a fight in the dark belly of Qala-e-Bost fortress. The idea that there are concealed, less-known meanings behind things in plain sight always fires my imagination.

Who dares enter the belly of the beast?

Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for Patricia FurstenbergSilent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for is a work of contemporary fiction inspired by the War in Afghanistan.

Amazon 5 Stars Review:
It is clear that the author did an amazing amount of research for this book. Over the last few years I have read many, many book written by our soldiers. All of these books were based on each soldier’s experiences. The author of “Silent Heroes” has captured the experiences of our military men and women. I highly recommend this book and I plan to read more book by this author.

Silent Heroes

You can BUY Silent Heroes now from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, or Amazon Worldwide: link here to your preferred Amazon website.

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Looking at the Sea

fisherman's boat, umbrellas by the sea @PatFurstenberg

Where do our thoughts escape to?
The wondrous one that snick out while we languidly watch the sea change its colors? The pressing ones that run away as soon as our mind got caught in the seagull’s wing. The long forgotten ones that elope us before we even blink the sun away.
Where do they go?
Seek refuge in the seashells? Ride the foam of the waves? Or hide underneath the beach chairs only to come out again at day’s end.
To balance the fading daylight.
To relish into the solitude of the beach.
To hide between their own folk.

Last holiday I let the light slip through my fingers as we strolled along the beach. I took these pictures between 18:17 and 19:43 in Mamaia Holiday Resort, by the Black Sea.

I’ll leave you with the fading light and the sea’s ever changing face – and its secrets.

long shadows beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
straw beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
sunset beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
white beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
pink flamingo, sand castle, beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
striped beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
blue fishermen by the sea @PatFurstenberg
beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
beach umbrella and throne  by the sea @PatFurstenberg
beach umbrella 2 beds by the sea @PatFurstenberg
after sunset beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
wodden swing by the sea @PatFurstenberg
umbrella and windy evening on the beach @PatFurstenberg
net covers umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg

Long after sunset the forgotten thoughts, and the escaped ones, plunge into the sea. As they dive right below its surface their sinuous backs from the waves we see at night, thick and sluggish. They dive in and out and, thus, the slow white crests of midnight waves are born.
Sometimes the bathing thoughts forget themselves in their merrymaking and never come out and thus, in the morning, the sea is gray like petrol and the lifeguards raise their red flag, marking a hazardous beach. For they know, they’ve seen it happening, bathers vanishing in those calm, thick waters – although no sea predators were ever spotted.
Except for sea-currents circling underneath. But you and I know; those are the long-forgotten thoughts, looming in waiting.

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Looking at Skulls in the Catacombs of Paris

Looking at Skulls in Paris Catacombes

Bones are the very last of our earthly traces and a proof of the existence of life itself. Bones symbolize that life is indestructible and they symbolize resurrection too (in Jewish tradition). Yet bones constantly remind us of our own mortality and of our feeble presence in this world.

Ahead of Halloween, I invite you to join me in a contemplation of death, life and immortality as we walk through the Catacombs of Paris.
And down we go. 20 meters underground.

A spiral staircase taking us 20 meters underground into the Catacombs of Paris
A spiral staircase taking us 20 meters underground into the Catacombs of Paris

This ossuary, containing the remains of millions of Parisians, is not what one might imagine, even after researching and viewing various images online.
A lifeless, gloomy, never-ending labyrinth. Life is suddenly a precious commodity here.
These pictures have not been altered.

A tunnel underground, Catacombs of Paris, where life is suddenly a precious commodity.
Life is suddenly a precious commodity here.

And even further we go. There is no turning back now…

The Catacombs of Paris, an underground labyrinth. No turning back now.
The Catacombs of Paris, an underground labyrinth. No turning back now.

The Catacombs of Paris are a time-travel place no one bargained for:

1876 stamped in a brick: , Catacombs of Paris officially opened to the public.
1876 stamped in a brick: , Catacombs of Paris officially opened to the public.

Feels like “Death lived there and none of them wanted to meet her that night.”

Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg
An endless pit in the Catacombs of Paris
Feels like “Death lived there and none of them wanted to meet her that night.” (Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg)

We are reminded that life goes on above the ground. Are we remembered, down here, underneath Rue Hallé?

A reminder that we are underneath Rue Hallé in the Catacombs of Paris.

The first wall of skulls and bones knocked the breath out of my lungs:

The first wall of skulls and bones in the Paris  Catacombs.

And then, this. Suddenly, a wind blasts through the Parisian Catacombs and I am chilled to the bone:

Skulls in the Parisian Catacombs

“whenever he would wake up cold and shivering, he would know he’d just felt death’s icy breath on his skin and that he escaped her again.”

Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg
Ils furent ce que nous sommes,
Poussière, jouet du vent; 
Fragiles comme des hommes. 
Faibles comme le néant. 
Paris Catacombs

“Ils furent ce que nous sommes,
Poussière, jouet du vent;
Fragiles comme des hommes.
Faibles comme le nĂ©ant.”

(Lamartine)

“They were once as we are now,
Dust, trinkets in the wind;
As fragile as humankind.
As frail as the void.”

Human skull, close up - Paris Catacombs

Human bones are light ivory with a touch of brown, but when exposed to soil and natural pigments or minerals in the soil they change color.
I stand 1m 65cm tall. This mountain of human bones and skulls was at my eye level, nearly touching the ceiling of the Parisian Catacombs:

A mountain of human bones and skulls standing 1m 60cm high in the Catacombs of Paris

And further we go, quietly.

A cross in the Catacombs of Paris

Which way? Death is all around us. Overpowering.

Catacombs of Paris, a real maize

“his black robe swaying with every step like a death flag…”

Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg
A heart made out of skulls. Paris Catacombs
A heart of skulls to show the love for those departed.

It gets much darker than this:

A cross and three mounds of bones in the Paris Catacombs.

Memento Creatoris tui in diebus juventutis tuae… “Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth”

Ecclesiastes xii: 1

A forgotten anatomy lesson: a view inside the frontal and parietal bones:

Skull, view inside the frontaland parietal bones

The Catacombs are a never-ending maize. I need out.

towards exit. Paris Catacombs

“They followed on the stony path knowing it lead to a place where death ruled.”

Silent Heroes, by Patricia Furstenberg
A light shaft. Paris Catacombs
Light. Life.

Until we found the stairs going up, towards life, light and hope.

Exit, stairs going up, Paris Catacombs

Thank you for joying me.

Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for, 5 stars reviews
Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for, 5 stars reviews
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