Frosted, the ground is. white

ice crystals stand like fur on the stems of herbs and grasses, surfaces of leaves.  Painting pictures in feathery waves across the car windscreen. winding, circling.

Breath short and sharp.   Clouds of warmth hover around horse's nostrils in the neighboring fog banks that dissipate into frozen air. stillness.

Hoarfrost. frost that forms from the direct condensation of water vapor to ice.  Creating magical mystical landscapes.  Bringing wonder into winter.  Hoar is from the Old English meaning to show signs of old age...thus hoarfrost is named for it's resemblance to white hair.

Last year, studying herbs, I remember reading about hoarfrost when learning about horehound.  Also spelled hoarhound, this herb is in the mint family and has slightly wooly or downy leaves, thus the connection between names.  Often used in cough and cold remedies, it is a great herbal ally to keep in mind this time of year.

I am reminded of two winters ago, care taking for an herb nursery in the Black Isle.  It was in the grounds of an old walled garden.  Mornings, I would walk across frosted ground and sometimes, when the conditions were just right, if I got there before the sun reached the glass windows of the cold frames, there would be magnificent ferned paintings, that slowly dissipated in the warming air.  I was caught up in it's beauty, the magic..not yet able to give it a name...

In Chinese 5-element theory, winter is the season of water, a time of rest and restoration.  Those of us in the North experience winter water in its states of stillness: frozen ponds, gentle snowfall, frosted ground.  Noticing how water manifests in our environment helps us see the different ways it can show up in our lives.  Is it frozen and resting, flowing and free, or still and reflective.  Head outside, what does water look like this time of year where you are?