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The Cover
February 10, 1999

Winter Landscape in Deer Grove

JAMA. 1999;281(6):491. doi:10.1001/jama.281.6.491

Never mind the calendar and the symmetry of its seasons. Never mind the divisions of its months or the allocation of its days. It is winter that is by far the longest of its seasons, and February by far the longest of its months. Winter is a state of mind, a season of soul, a sleep of spirit. It is nature's asystole, time's stasis, autumn's tomb, heavy, white, and icy as silence. It is the night when earth rests and gathers up its cares.

But winter hides another side. If it is autumn's tomb, it is spring's womb. If it is a forgetting, it is also a remembering. If it is the night of the year, it is also the dawn of the year. If it is a sleep, it is only a dreaming of new beginnings. If it is a silence, it is only that lesser voices may be heard. Beneath the long whiteness, there are stirrings and rustlings and sproutings. The long night is nearly over; soon, rivers will flow, time will resume, nature will once more throb with life. If February is the longest month of the soul, it is still the one with the fewest days.

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