Melting Into Words

melting leaf

Frozen gray skies melt into blue. Signs of life appear: a singing stream, babbling birds, ducks visiting the birdfeeder.

visiting ducks

ducks in the woods

Ducks don’t usually visit a house in the woods. But somehow, these ducks sniffed out the birdseed from their lakeside home. Now the springtime sound of chirping combines with quacks, reminding me how funny life can be.

frozen pond

As the snow glaciers retreat, we smell the Earth again. It smells like life. We inhale it. Slices of green delight poke through the ground, waiting to bloom. Cranberry bogs that served as skating rinks over the winter are thawing out.

cranberry bog

I’ve been revising and tinkering with the novel through the winter, but it still seemed frozen into place while I knew it needed more. Lately though, whatever was frozen has been melting into words. Whether our words drip or flood in, it’s progress. Every word, every revision, brings us closer to a finished book. It takes time but that’s true for anything worth doing. If your words were frozen over the winter, I hope they’re melting.


“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” – John Muir

Happy Spring! Have you ever had a pet duck? Does the weather affect your creativity?

73 thoughts on “Melting Into Words

  1. Just gorgeous. So happy to see Spring showing up in your neck of the woods even though it seems to be passing mine by! Yes, the weather affects my creativity indeed!

  2. That was lovely. I felt your sense of renewal. I do indeed have a frozen book, I will use your metaphor of melt; an idea I seldom think of.

    • It should melt in Mexico. 🙂 It must be tempting to do things outside instead but then you’re collecting all those great experiences to write about. Usually once we collect enough, those words will start gushing.

  3. Winter melting into words–I like that! We have a family of ducks that somehow squeeze through the bottom of my fence and visit with their ducklings each spring. I keep Ginger in so she doesn’t scare them (although all she would do would be to smell them). Yea for Spring–and melting words.

    • Pet ducks are a lot of fun. I love to hear their quacks because they sound so much like laughter. I hope the ducks don’t torture Ginger too much. Happy Spring!

      • Quacks do sound like laughter. Ha ha (or quack quack). It’s a pleasant form of torture for Ginger to see friends she can’t meet.

  4. “If your words were frozen over the winter, I hope they’re melting.”—I love your use of winter thawing into spring as a metaphor for stalled writing. Lovely.

    Sometimes I’m not as productive in the winter which is a shame, because I want to get the most writing done then so I’m not so hunkered down in the summer. Note to self: must get this timing right!

    • Thanks Carrie! It does make more sense to get it all done in the winter while we’re hibernating! I kept tinkering with it, but revising just isn’t as fun as writing. I ended up cutting a lot out so the springtime thaw is good timing for adding in new sections. It’s great for that chance to really write again. Now we both need to finish them up before summer so we can get outside and play every once in a while! 🙂

      • That’s funny! I guess revising can be fun if it doesn’t go on for too long (like with mine) but I’ll always love the writing part – maybe because of the craziness involved.

  5. That first photo is so beautiful, as is the imagery of a frozen novel and melting words. I like that so much. Spring is such a moment of rejuvenation – I’m starting to feel all this new creative power in my veins; I feel like doing cartwheels, haha! Maybe I’ll wait for all the snow to melt first and just write some outlines in the meantime 🙂

    Cute ducks.

    • Thanks Letizia! Definitely get out there and do some cartwheels! Any leftover snow might cushion your fall. You’re reminding me it’s been too long since I’ve attempted one. I guess it helps to channel all that energy into writing. Best of luck with yours and happy melting!

  6. Sheila that frozen leaf is a stunning study, as a girl I dreamed about skating on a frozen pond after watching too many American movies lol. I find writing loosens up for me if I just turn up at my laptop and go for it. The weather here is hot in the middle of the day yet the signs of autumn show themselves in the mornings. Not sure if I prefer a winter chill or a hot summers night to write? But write we must. Hoping your words and novel are going well in the big thaw.

    • I’ve probably seen too many movies of people falling in under the ice when skating on ponds. 🙂 Skating on cranberry bogs isn’t as scary but then sometimes the cranberries poke through and become obstacles. So it’s not all it’s cracked up to be! That autumn chill can help with writing too with its way of waking us up. I can’t wait to see those picture books of yours – happy writing!

  7. Spring has just the opposite impact on me. I am quite happy to sit in my writing chair, write, and watch the weather happen. Spring demands that I get out and disappear into the woods, as John Muir did. Curt

    • You’re doing it the right way then. It should be easier to concentrate on the writing when it’s too cold to go outside. I’m always feeling that pull to get out there, but it is more enjoyable in those non-winter, non-freezing months!

  8. Love this post! We have a cranberry bog not far from here and I love driving by in winter and seeing the kids skating. Looks fun but I’ve never been and probably won’t. Like you, just too scared about the possibility of thin ice 🙂

    Have fun writing/revising!!!

    • I used to skate on cranberry bogs because the water on those isn’t very deep, but then sometimes the plants would poke through the ice and make me trip and fall. At least I’ll blame the cranberries anyway. 🙂 Thank you and best of luck with your writing! I really loved your short story and still think about it.

      • Sheila thanks so much for saying so about my story. That really means a lot! I haven’t done much writing the past 2 months as it has been crazy at work – draining me of mental energy but that should be over soon. I think, like for you, spring will bring a welcome burst of energy and creativity I am so looking forward to! Have a great weekend!!

  9. Pingback: The Bird said MeOW | Minuscule Moments of Inspiration

    • Thank you! The sun does energize everything. It’s great to be woken up by it and the chilly wind after hibernating. Hope you get lots of sun energy this spring and summer!

  10. We have a summer camp in Maine, on a lake, and the ducks visit our little beach and dock every day. They’d come into the house if my English setter would let them! They aren’t very shy. My favorite sight is seeing the ducklings swimming right in a row behind mama.

    Spring is in the air, and mud is on the ground. OMG, it is a mess out there! But, I will take mud over snow/ice any day now.

    Hopefully the warmer weather will thaw our muses, and the writing will flow like sap in the trees! 🙂

    • That would be a fun scene if the ducks found their way into the house! I know how crazy those English setters are. But who knows, maybe they’d become friends. 🙂 It’s muddy and gray here too and we might get more snow but then we can look forward to lots of melting!

  11. How beautiful, Sheila. I love the way you can ‘smell life’ again after winter – I’ve never thought of this before (maybe because I’ve never lived in a place that freezes solid over winter).

    The mallards are beautiful. We have birds here (called Lapwings) that are always in pairs and it’s a wonderful sight to behold 😀

    • Thanks Dianne! That smell can really wake a person up – it’s a combination of melting snow and mud and that feeling that everything is about to come to life again. Those ducks aren’t anything like your creatures, but they’re the only creatures that have visited here so far other than the occasional turkey. 🙂

  12. Gorgeous photos. It makes me excited for your spring, though where I am, Autumn is descending. The weather definitely affects my mood. Too much darkness and cold can be stifling, at the same time, that is where the creativity lies. Too much sun, and I don’t want to be trapped inside 🙂

    • Thanks so much! Autumn is usually my favorite season but sometimes spring is especially welcome too. I guess it’s the changes that are exciting. It’s true that we really should be writing like crazy during those cold dark months so that we can get out into the sunshine when it arrives!

    • Now you’ve seen one! 🙂 It’s been a chilly spring so far but that chill from the melting snow does wake you up and it feels like there’s more energy in the air. It’s nice to see the sun again – I hope you and the dogs are enjoying the sunshine too!

      • We’ve been making the most of the sunshine here, but the cooler days of autumn are much more enjoyable than the long hot summer we have been through. Now is a great time to go to the beach with the doggies, both love a splash in the water and Maxi loves digging in the sand 🙂

  13. Gorgeous! And, wow…that first photo! I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

    Love this: “As the snow glaciers retreat, we smell the Earth again. It smells like life. We inhale it.” My walks outside have been refreshing rather than detrimental to my spirit. The smell of everything coming alive has been so inspiring. I’ve been feeling the novel writing bug again, but want to wrap up “The Bra Game” and take a much needed break after that. Oh, right…I’m moving across the country in there somewhere, too! For now, as the ideas pop up, I’ll just scribble them in my journal and revisit them when I’m ready to sit my tushie down again. Happy Spring, honey pie!

    • Thanks so much Britt! Those breaks can help too – and just make sure to write down all the details of the two-cat car ride – that’ll definitely be a bestseller! Best of luck with your move and your new adventures and yes Happy Spring! Love and hugs!

    • Yes – I keep hearing we might get more snow but then at least there will be more melting to look forward to! Hope you’re staying warm and curled up by a fire. xo

    • Thanks so much! That thought makes me happy too. I hope your words are also melting or maybe our brains are finally thawing out. 🙂

  14. Especially like the first photo as it encompasses three seasons at once (Fall, Winter, Springtime thaws).
    As for that novel of yours…ride the tide of those newly melted words!

    • Thank you! Sometimes we get all seasons all at once around here. You never know what might happen next. We might even get another blizzard in a few days but then there will be more melting to look forward to!

  15. Excellent pictures and descriptions. I liked Charlotte Brontë´s quote from “Jane Eyre” too :P…
    Thanks for sharing, Sheila. Cheers, Aquileana !

    • Thanks Aquileana! Thanks so much for those Twitter shares too. Yes, I’m looking forward to more of that green hope!

  16. Your photography is absolutely breathtaking! It’s amazing how you make some of the simplest things so beautiful! Thanks so much for the magnificent sights!

    • Thank you for enjoying them! It’s been pretty gray here without the snow but as long as we keep looking for it, there’s beauty to be found. And now that all the snow melted away, we just might get a blizzard tonight!

  17. My words are dripping out just now, but as you say, even that counts as progress. 🙂 Some years back, a pair of mallards nested in my mother’s front yard, underneath some junipers, but very much visible. And no, she doesn’t live anywhere near a decent body of water! The closest “pond” is in another subdivision, about half a mile away. I’ve never understood the attraction of that locale!

    Winter wants to make a comeback tomorrow, with a chance of 1–3 inches of snow for us. Exhausted pretty well sums up how I feel about this particular season!

    • We’re supposed to get some kind of a blizzard here! I’m still hoping to squeeze in another snow day. I hope your words melt soon. I think the spring energy helps with that and it’s out there somewhere. That’s funny about your mom’s ducks! It’s strange when they show up in places like that – sometimes I’ll even see them at the ocean and then the world seems even more mixed up than usual.

  18. As always, I love your wonderful words and photos. Sheila. especially when they bring the promise of spring. The ducks are great; Where do you think they come from??

    • Thanks so much! I guess they were flying by and sniffed the birdseed out somehow. They’re gone again for now but maybe they’ll come back after tonight’s blizzard. 🙂

  19. Nature really is beautiful and you capture is superbly. I wish I lived right next to proper nature. I would like a pet duck…I think I would call him (somewhat predictably) Bill or Drake.

    • Hahah! Those are perfect duck names. I hope you’ll find a pet duck at some point. They’re fun to have around with their laughing sounds.

  20. Simply charming Sheila! I could hear the water gurgling over the falls and the ducks quacking… A really great post. However, I must admit that I shall be “stealing” the title as the images are demanding a voice! 🙂 x

    • I’m happy to inspire – please just remember to give credit for any inspiration so that it wouldn’t be “stealing.” 🙂

      • Absolutely! However most things that inspire this A.D.D. mind are often un-recognisable to the source by the time it hits the page! 🙂

  21. Glad to hear your neck of the woods is warming up. I’m taking my kids to the mid-Atlantic next weekend for our spring vacation and I really hope we don’t see snow while there, as I’d like to show them some green. As for pet ducks, something tells me it wouldn’t be such a good idea. 🙂

    • I hope you’ll find some green out there! It’s very gray here but warming up periodically in between the blizzards. I guess you’re right about the ducks. They’ve already left to find excitement elsewhere. Have fun on your trip!

  22. Beautiful photos and post, Sheila, and I love ducks! They are so cute! My husband and I were away in wine country last weekend and in the plaza, the ducks relaxed and didn’t mind humans wandering around. I’d love to have a pet duck, but our lab would go nuts, I’m sure! 🙂

    • Thanks Lauren! That’s true that dogs and ducks probably aren’t a great combination. Copper would have lots of fun though! I’m glad you were able to get away to wine country for a while.

  23. Sheila, these are wonderful pictures, and I love the hope that grows both in them and your words. I recently read Jane Eyre; I think you picked the perfect quote for this post.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • Thank you so much! I loved your flower photos and inspirational words. Here’s to spring and more green hope!

  24. This is a beautiful post. You have uplifted me with your photos and words helping me out of a dreary phase of negativity, which can be so wearing you would think I would learn and walk round it instead of through and therefore becoming stuck in the mud. 😊

    • I’m happy to hear that! We all get stuck in that mud sometimes so we might as well try to pull each other out of it whenever we can. 🙂

  25. Hello Sheila,
    Just noticed you wrote this a year ago but perhaps the first signs of spring are starting to breakthrough the snow and ice and you and your world are starting the defrosting process anew.
    I live just North of Sydney, Australia and instead of word freeze, my words and thoughts have been fried of late by the Summer’s heat.
    I just wandered over here from Kate Unsworth’s blog where I read your great story about he parrot. Loved it!
    Take care & best wishes,

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to wander all the way over to Cape Cod from Australia. 🙂 I love her blog – it’s one of my favorites. The snow is still up to my knees and it’s frozen solid for now, but I can hear the birds singing so hopefully spring is on the way! I hope your fall days will help get those thoughts and words moving again. Nice to meet you!

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