January 22, 2013

Scott Thomas’ first photography challenge this year is about Winter. What does Winter mean to you ?

Here  is my contribution to Scott’s  assignment.

Winter 2012-2013 is  particularly cold and snowy in some areas of Switzerland and yet it is only January ! In an alpine area, this Season brings a lot to mind like the best, in particular the various kinds of sport activities to the most unpleasant and dangerous, like extreme coldness, icy roads,  avalanches. There is also one aspect that touches both the vegetal and animal world: dormancy. If you consider the time I spent away from my blog. you could also include humans 😉

During a train travel between Geneva and the Alps, I was looking at a landscape of vineyards under the snow. A lovely patchwork in white and grey shades, no bustling around, just quietness. I thought of nature and its resting time, dormancy.  I love this unique landscape of Lavaux terraced vineyards spreading down gently to the shore of Lake Léman. The whole area is protected by Unesco. Here are more pictures for you :

vignes, guérite

First snow in early December. As I opened the shutters one morning, I was surprised to see  whiteness all around. The air was chilly and silent. I smiled as I spotted what looked like two animal shapes sculpted by snow. A hare ? A turtle ? In any case, they were well into their dormancy period.lapin, tortue

In a more urban landscape,  some construction sites experience their own dormancy period in Winter. Work had stopped. A greenhouse in the botanical garden nearby was all lit up, a warm looking sight. The heat inside was such a contrast with the outside temperature. Tropical trees and plants were  blooming, no sign of rest there.chantier

A familiar sight, the terrace in front of our home. On the previous day, I sat there for a while,  letting my eyes wander on a landscape I am  never tired of looking at.  Now it is time for garden tables and chairs  to  take their own rest.terrasse, neige

The little hedgehock was on the way to his favourite spot to spend the Winter: a big heap of  leaves secured from Ninio-the-beagle’s investigations. Both had a rather traumatic meeting a while ago… and I doubt Ninio will ever tease the hedgehock again.  As I got nearer, he stopped his quick little steps and buried his head in the snow. Discreetly, I retreated and let him move on for a long Winter sleep.

hérisson, hiver

Someone just eaten a good part of my tasty and juicy apple. See below. I had left it on the picnic table while I taking a picture of Lake Livingston, Texas, at the end of a very hot July afternoon. The squirrel’s stomach was full and contented.  Not a bit disturbed by my presence, he lied down on the bench warmed by the sun, made himself comfortable and gave me a last look before entering  in a lethargic and sleepy state. Aestivation ? Another kind of dormancy, away from the coldness of hibernation in the North.


Sleep well, greedy little one 🙂

How do you think my own dormancy looked like over this past month ?

Just like this. Books. Lost in books of fiction, history, biographies, memoir. A few have been read and enjoyed a lot. Others’ turn will come soon.books, Jan. 2013, HDR


37 Responses to “Dormancy”

  1. Giiid said

    You’ve really outdone yourself, Isa, your pictures are wonderful! And what a cute little squirrel, does it mean that you are traveling to warmer areas? The hedgehock is also a very sweet little animal, we don´t have any around here, unfortunately. You did a very good “assignment 23” job. 🙂

    • Thanks a lot, Birgitte, I am happy you enjoyed this post. No, I am not travelling to warmer areas right now. I went to Texas a few years ago and as I thought of dormancy, I remembered the squirrel, its lethargy, another form of resting time but in a hot environment.

  2. Truels said

    Great post, Isa!!! That first photo is excellent! The landscape is magic and beautiful.
    You are lucky to live in these surroundings 🙂
    And books !!! – I feel just as you do – I read books all the time – and I could not live without libraries………
    I’ve just finished my contribution ready to post tomorrow 😉

    • Hello Truels and thank you very much. Everyone seems to like this first photo, I must post another one some day. I do not live right there but close by and it is a stunning landscape, at any Season. What are you reading at the moment ?
      Now on my way to visit your Winter post 😉

  3. sybil said

    I didn’t know you had hedgehogs in Switzerland. Love that first photo from the train.

  4. Interesting shot of the vineyards. I like the thoughts about dormacy. Well documented. So you have been to Lake Livingston,Tx. I find that interesting. There is not that much to see trhat is pretty in that area

    • Hi Yvonne, I appreciate your visit and kind words. As I went to TX, I mainly stayed in Houston. I also spent a few days in Livingston and its beautiful lake. For Swiss standards, it looked like an inland sea, so huge it is. I quite enjoyed its shore, forests, little pavillions, piers and sunsets.

  5. Love the the books and the vineyard!

    • Thank you Dawn, lovely to see you here. Any books of interest to you or that you have read already ? Those vineyards are very picturesque and quite busy at harvest time. A long tradition of wine growing in the area.

  6. So much snow! That first picture is something special.

  7. Karma said

    Brrrrrrr! Tes photos me causent à frissonner! J’aime notamment le herisson et l’ecureuil.

    • Merci Karen. Moi aussi, je frissonne parfois. J’ai eu de la chance de voir ces jolis petits animaux, hérisson et écureuil. Toi, tu as l’oeil et le talent de photographier les oiseaux !

  8. Janice said

    Lovely to see winter through your eyes, Isa. Your photo of the Lavaux terraced vineyards is just beautiful. I love the colours and your composition. I have not heard of this area – it looks wonderful.
    I re-read Heidi recently and thought of you! It must have been 40 years since I read it for the first time. Somehow Heidi and Grandfather managed to live up the mountain all year round until the end when they moved into Dorfli during the winters. How did they manage to survive the bitter cold and all the snow?!
    I hope you are keeping warm. Reading seems like a happy form of dormancy!

    • Merci beaucoup pour tes gentils commentaires, Janice. The Lavaux area is well-known over here and often visited. There are small villages where you can stop and taste various wines, eat local food. Very convivial.
      Ha, Heidi and her grand-papa, and Peter, what a delightful story I read countless times ! I do my best to keep warm although I caught a bad cold recently. More dormancy…

  9. Nye said

    Beautiful images Isa, especially the landscape of vineyards under the snow.

  10. sonali said

    The white winter! My most favorite version of winter, snowy land. Lovely pictures. I’m happy to know that you appreciate the white beauty, the whiteness all around! Dreaming of being there! Thank you.

    • Hello sonali and thanks a lot. A Winter without snow would not be a real Winter over here. It is so much part of our life and landscape. This year snow fell in early December, we enjoyed a White Christmas and it looks as if the whiteness all around will stay for a while.

  11. shoreacres said

    If you ever come back to Houston or Lake Livingston you must let me know. It would be such fun to meet – perhaps even to share an apple! I pick blueberries in the summer very near Lake Livingston – it’s a lovely area.

    There’s so much in your post to enjoy and respond to. As a contractor who works outdoors, I understand all too well the enforced dormancy of winter. Here, it is possible to keep working, but adaptability is important. We never know from one day to the next what is coming.

    The vineyard photo is beautiful. I love the thought of the land at rest. It’s an important part of the cycle, just as it is for us. And the little hedgehog making his way to his burrow is delightful. Do you suppose he was thinking, “Next year, I’m not going to wait quite this long!”

    We’re still hoping for a little winter, but the time has nearly passed. This weekend, I’ll be pruning my Cape Honeysuckle – perhaps that will bring winter back with a vengeance!

    • Hello dear Linda, it is good reading you, I have been lazy lately but I look forward to visiting you soon. I have no plans to visit Houston soon but who knows what future will bring ? That would be nice to meet under your wide, big sky.

      You are right about the land at rest being an important part or the cycle. We should also be more conscious of this, if ever possible. Maybe it is more obvious in a colder environment such as mine ?

      Pruning Cape Honeysuckle in January ? I have seen those big, beautiful shrubs in the South West of Texas, they need a warmer climate than ours. Enjoy your weekend !

  12. iniyaal said

    This entry is one of my favourites among all your posts. The vineyard photo is so serene… winter is sure so much about dormancy.

    • Thank you so much iniyaal. As I was on the train looking at those vineyards, a family from your country sat near me and I had to explain to them what those terraces were. They were so amazed and admirative too. Many pictures were taken 🙂

  13. Isabelle, the vineyards look lovely dressed in white. That is indeed a turtle and hare 🙂

  14. Kathy said

    Isa, as always, you create the most lovely posts when you appear from your times of quiet dormancy. I think the first photo is the most exquisite, but the others share a good glimpse into your winter in Switzerland. The one with the snow-covered chairs also really appeals. Hope you are enjoying your January!

    • Hello Kathy ! I hope you enjoyed your Holiday Season. Thanks for visiting and commenting. January is almost over, my PC was just as dormant as I was. I am thinking of replacing it some time soon. Its dormancy has nothing to do with the Season, alas. Age is the reason.

  15. […] tells and shows us how life in Switzerland handles winter from plants to animals to humans by becoming dormant. Enjoy your books, […]

  16. Great images! I love the landscape view from the train. I’m jealous of such views… 🙂

  17. Tammy said

    I think you captured dormancy perfectly. Your landscape photos are beautiful but that little hedgehog warmed my heart. And a stack of books to boot? Now that is luxurious dormancy!

  18. Created ~ said

    Wow, I love your blog! I spent the christmas and New Year holidays in Switzerland with my best friend and loved it! Your photos are giving me withdrawals 🙂 I would LOVE to move there if I could. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks a lot for your enthusiastic comments, I appreciate it and am happy you enjoyed your recent holidays in Switzerland. You certainly came at the right time to have a White Christmas, especially in the Alps.

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