Winter Thoughts

We had four inches of snow here in Raleigh, NC, on Tuesday. That's the biggest snowfall we've had here in more than four years, and we've all been enjoying the novelty of it.

It doesn't snow where I live nearly as often as it does in the mountains of western North Carolina, where Fraser's Ridge is supposed to be located. But I always enjoy the descriptions of winter scenes in the OUTLANDER books.

Here are a few quotes that I wanted to share with you. (The pictures are not mine.)

Winter in the Scottish Highlands...

Spey Valley from Craigellachie

This quote is from the scene where Jamie and Claire leave Marcus MacRannoch's house, en route to the coast, the day after Jamie is rescued from Wentworth Prison:

It was hard going through the snow. Less than a foot deep, the treacherous white stuff hid rocks, holes, and other obstacles, making footing for the horses slippery and dangerous. Clods of snow and mud flew up with each step, spattering bellies and hocks, and clouds of horse-breath vanished steaming into the frozen air.

(From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 37 ("Escape"). Copyright © 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
...and in the North Carolina mountains

Shanty Spring Branch Cascades - 4120'
This next quote is from the chapter in DRUMS OF AUTUMN where Claire goes to find Jamie in the snow:

The winter held off for some time, but snow began to fall in the night on November 28, and we woke to find the world transformed. Every needle on the great blue spruce behind the cabin was frosted, and ragged fringes of ice dripped from the tangle of wild raspberry canes.

The snow wasn't deep, but its coming changed the shape of daily life. I no longer foraged during the day, save for short trips to the stream for water, and for lingering bits of green cress salvaged from the icy slush along the banks. Jamie and Ian ceased their work of log felling and field clearing, and turned to roof shingling. The winter drew in on us, and we in turn withdrew from the cold, turning inward.

(From Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21 ("Night on a Snowy Mountain"). Copyright © 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

January in the Blue Ridge Mountains
And finally, here's a quote from the day the house on the Ridge was supposed to burn down. I just love the imagery in this paragraph.

January 21 was the coldest day of the year. Snow had fallen a few days before, but now the air was like cut crystal, the dawn sky so pale it looked white, and the packed snow chirped like crickets under our boots. Snow, snow-shrouded trees, the icicles that hung from the eaves of the house--the whole world seemed blue with cold.

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111 ("January Twenty-First"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


Phelisha said...

So beautiful Karen, nice choice of passages and pictures. I still cringe when I think of any winter in Scotland or NC, USA in the 1700's. It just seems unbearable without central heating!! I personally don’t take the cold very well and when I think of Claire in a stone cold castle, in Scotland, in the winter, I can’t fathom that kind of cold I tell you.

Tina @ The Zoo Crew said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures!

Karen Henry said...

Phelisha and Tina:

Glad you liked the pictures, but I can't take credit for them. I found them on

Phelisha, I totally agree with you about how hard it would be to endure winter weather in that time, without central heating!


Mitzi H. said...

I love your pictures and portions of the story. They are always entertaining and make me want to open the book up and start reading. Very beautiful pics.


Anonymous said...

My daughter loved the snow. When she got up that morning and saw it snowing, she immediately wanted to go outide. Of course, it was 7:00AM, and I was not ready to go outside. After breakfast, we went outside for a few minutes. She wanted to make a snowman, but the snow was too powdery. Now that the snow is gone, she wants it to snow again. I think I have had my fill of it for this year.

Karen Henry said...


Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed them.


Karen Henry said...

Hi Tammy:

The snow we had in Raleigh was just about perfect as far as I was concerned. Enough to cover everything. Enough so that it lasted a while (it took three days for the last of it to melt). It started overnight, so I didn't have to go out driving in it. And best of all, I was able to be home to watch the inauguration on TV, something I probably wouldn't have managed if I'd had to go in to work that day.

But I agree with you. One good-sized snowfall per winter is enough for me. I've had my fill of it now, and there will be buds on the trees in a couple of weeks.


Phelisha said...

Heck! I am counting down to spring!!! 52 more days!! Yeah!!!

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