Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Five Photos, Five Days Challenge — Day Two



Winter’s first snowfall is both welcome and dreaded. In MN, we can’t escape winter unless we leave the state. Some years we have brown winters, but we never escape the cold that comes with the season.

I’m not one of those people who long for snow and cold so I can get out and enjoy it, but I appreciate the season for what it holds. Snow I’m okay with–there’s something about the peace and hushed silence that stirs up my creative energies. Even snowstorms are a muse for me, provided I don’t have to drive in them.

The cold is something we have to get used to every year. There’s a strange difference between what the freezing temperature feels like after a month of autumn versus what it feels like after a month of below zero weather. Freezing feels cold in October, but balmy in February. Contrary to popular belief, Minnesota is not frigid all year. We get tropical heat in the summer–hot and humid with a generous dose of mosquitoes, and arctic cold in the winter, when you have to start your car at midnight and let it run for twenty minutes so you know it’ll start in the morning when you have to leave for work.

My favorite part about winter is the time I have to write. There’s no garden to weed, no grass to mow, no tomatoes to can or cucumbers to pickle, and it’s too cold to enjoy being outside unless you dress like a tauntaun rider on Hoth. Fresh snow blankets the brown landscape left by autumn with a pristine white cloak that sparkles in the sunlight under skies so brilliantly blue it almost hurts to look at them. If we’re lucky, we wake up some mornings to trees coated with shards of hoarfrost, which is breathtaking to see, and an incredible muse. That first taste of winter, the smell of it, is somehow invigorating, though not as welcome as that first scent of spring, the hint of humus and spring rain. It’s the difference between knowing you’re in for months of snow and cold, or knowing the snow and cold will be going away soon and summer is on the horizon.

I was nominated to take part in this photo challenge by Andrea Connolly, who shared wonderful images of the sea and sailing, along with great prose.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive day
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

4 thoughts on “Five Photos, Five Days Challenge — Day Two

  1. Your photo conveys so much calmness. From a certain point of view it is like an iced seascape, a still where you want to dream and write…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in the northeast, so we get our fair share of the white stuff along with the cold. I love the first snowfall of the year, and I love watching the moon dance on a snow covered field at night when everything is white and pristine. And you’re so right…it’s a great time for writing. I just wish the season was far shorter. After New Year’s passes, I’m pretty much focused on and eager for spring, LOL.

    Beautiful photo. It evokes such calmness!

    Liked by 2 people

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