An Abstraction on the Frost

When I call something concrete, I’m calling it something tangible, something that catches light, with texture, temperature, weight. Today some lovely writers join me in using the concrete to speak of the abstract. How else can we show you the invisible things?

This morning the sky is charcoal black, and like theatre curtains they scroll back edged in navy to a new scene, soft sea gray. And there in the limbo, in the navy, is the moon, light trimming the sphere with a slivered crescent like a side-tilted centerpiece bowl. Straight above, Venus radiates, bounces up there like she might dance away.

Yesterday morning was warm, and then the rains woke us up during Sunday nap, thought it was the roof coming off but really it was the temperature crashing. Now the shroud is gone, and it is winter cold, not a cloud. The trees are all silhouetted in white. The frost makes a different kind of quiet, rattles roots and bones.

Up close, frost like snow crystallizes the yard in a million unique formations. I could spend forever looking too closely at the world. I shouldn’t, but I’ve been weighing my Titus every day to see if he’s gained. I chop down the hours on a sheet of paper to take advantage of an illogical schedule. I moan about the dog hair in the carpet. Recently a girlfriend mentioned a memory so full of God’s Grandeur that it shot her up 10,000 miles above current circumstance.

From inside through the window, my breath turns fog. There is more to all these struggles. There is Venus shining in the frost. My yard a sheet of diamonds.

As I consider a writer’s voice, I wonder how it is for you. If we all have one, I wonder about other things, other things that most of us have. Like the frost in your yard, for example. If voice is cadence and music and space, how you write out the matter in your life and the meaning it gives, what about the frost? It’s certainly different than in my yard. So how is it for you?  —  On Mondays I write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. If you want to mess around with these little prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below at any point this week. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. The next topic is The Ornament, but we’ll take a break and wait until December 3rd for that link up. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here and walking with me.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. Would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom? Follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader.  Are you ready to shirk your chains? 

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  1. I think that I am speechless, but then I find myself here in the comments so….I am still speechless, at the beauty.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Frost

  2. Your writing, as ever, leaves me breathless in admiration.
    Praying for you as to yield your schedule to His hands. Much love x
    Tanya Marlow recently posted..The Sweater/ Frost

  3. I love that you managed a Gerard Manley Hopkins shout-out here, because it is so very apt — this beauty flaming out like the shining from shook foil. My wide eyes are a few degrees wider, now…thank you.
    Valerie {all mussed up} recently posted..brekkie

    • Oh girl, I had this memorized at one point.

      God’s Grandeur

      The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
      It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
      It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
      Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
      Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
      And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
      And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
      Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

      And for all this, nature is never spent;
      There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
      And though the last lights off the black West went
      Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
      Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
      World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

  4. Honestly, I think you could write about anything and make me want to read more. You have a gift Amber. Your frost is pure beauty.
    Shelly Miller recently posted..When the Way You’ve Always Done it Doesn’t Work Anymore

  5. sheet of diamonds…yes, that’s just perfect!
    the Blah Blah Blahger recently posted..PINTEREST FAIL

  6. so beautiful–love this!
    Margaret recently posted..7 Ways Women Damage Their Leadership

  7. Oh my goodness Amber. I want to write about Frost, but now I just don’t know. These words are so lovely I think I might just soak in them. Wow.
    Thank you for these prompts too. I’ve had so much fun joining in. Sometimes a girl needs a prompt to get the writers block out of the way. At least temporarily.
    Danelle recently posted..Quiet Temple

  8. Hi Amber
    First, a BIG thank you for the privilege to join up with the girls. I truly loooove doing this! Your description of a million unique formations truly humbles me. I don’t think we are able to truly understand the magnitude of our Pappa’s creative powers. I am a South African and for the past two days we have been experiencing thunderstorms, ours from the humidity in the summer air, nevertheless a spectacular show of power and unbelievable beauty.
    Much love to you
    Ma recently posted..Frost and Sunflowers

  9. Oh my goodness, Amber. I’ve read this over and again. I am amazed at your ability to breathe such life into the inanimate. What a gift this has been for me — to meet with you and the others in this place. And that examining of life details too closely…oh, my heart panged hard with the truth of that one in my life, too. Thank you always for your faithful, careful and yet free telling. (And happy anniversary to you and Seth! ‘Tis good!)
    Ashley @ Draw Near recently posted..The Frost

  10. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Amber, your words shimmer and shine with dazzling originality. You takes us to that which is bigger than we, and it makes our problems pale by comparison. God, Frost-Father-Creator, has it all under control. Keep shining your light on Him. I stand in awe of who He is and how He has gifted you and how He is using you!
    PS I’m sure you must be familiar with “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. If so, it’s well worth re-reading; if not, you will stand amazed.

  11. glory.

  12. Comments are hard to follow so much beauty. Thank you for letting us see this gift through your words.

  13. FYI, my link-up above is broken. Thanks again, Amber, for the gift of this series. Here’s a new one for my post:
    Ashley recently posted..The Frost

  14. There is more.

    I like to believe God gives us these concrete things to paint a picture of His own abstract glory.

    (Praying for you, covering you, shining light on those diamonds so you can see.)
    Kelly @ Love Well recently posted..frost

  15. Serendipity and a typo brought me here: I googled wintered jam and ended up on your Wintered Soul entry. I have been fighting dreary about pending Christmas and my aloneness, trying to shake this funk by making Winter Jam. Then these words: “Life, Life, set afire before the color fades! Take the torch so it smolders under dormant days.” Hard to fit back in the funk of these dormant days after reading that…

    So I follow you here. “Recently a girlfriend mentioned a memory so full of God’s Grandeur that it shot her up 10,000 miles above current circumstance.” Well now… As I sit near the afternoon sun spot in this chilly apartment, in my minds-eye I am standing on the beach watching the waves and surfers on a recent windy cold sunny afternoon in Ocean City, MD. I am particularly thinking of the little girl surfer who waited a half hour for the good wave to practice her shakey stand.

    Hey, I can do this. I can make this Winter Jam and share some sunshine with my friends and family.

    I know it’s not always going to be like this even though this is taking Way. Too. Long. Yes, I have known for some time now that good things are coming to me in my life and in my work. I will go to sleep tonight dreaming of gardens.

    But for now, I’ll be in making a wreck of the kitchen, making little jars of jeweled jam.

    Blessings to you



  1. […] I’m linking up with Amber Haines again with gratitude and joy. Other “abstractions-on-the-frost” cab be found at […]

  2. […] Monday, Amber Haines of The Runamuck, leads an exploration of voice in writing, in which we use concrete words to express the abstract. Please visit Amber’s to read her […]

  3. […] My memory is soaring high above, and I’m finally remembering. Oh, to see through the fog. Go read it all here. “This morning the sky is charcoal black, and like theatre curtains they scroll back edged in […]

  4. […] up with amber’s abstractions and heather’s just write. may these women never full stop. Pin […]

  5. […] I’m joining up again with dear Amber Haines of The Runamuck, as we continue our exploration of voice in writing – using words we can see and touch to express things we cannot. Please visit Amber’s […]

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