In the foreground of this photo we can see a pristine expanse of virginal snow that seems to be atop a hill, sweeping gently downhill in every direction. There are also some typical wintry trees, branches devoid of their leaves, lying dormant until the warmer temperatures of spring rouse them from their sleep. Through the branches, we can see the weak watery light of the winter sun shining through and casting light and shadow upon the untouched snow. I think it may be a little windy in this area from time to time as we can see wavy ridgelines in the snow, formed as a result of strong winds on the surface. These are known as sastrugi and are more common and pronounced in polar regions but can be found in any cold snowy environment.

pristine 清純な・けがれていない / expanse 広がり, 広々とした場所 / virginal 純潔な・無垢の / wintry 冬らしい・荒涼とした / devoid ~が欠けていて・~がなくて / dormant 眠っているような・休眠状態の / rouse 目覚めさせる / watery 弱い / untouched 手をつけてい・触れられていない / ridgeline 尾根筋・稜線 / sastrugi サスツルギ(雪の表面が、風で削られてできた模様)/ polar region 極地



This is a beautiful photo of the frozen Moraine Lake in Alberta, Canada, surrounded by the tall imposing snow-capped mountains of the Canadian Rockies. Everywhere we look in the photo, there is beauty and danger. The frozen lake and the looming icy mountains full of snow-filled cracks, gullies and crevices just waiting for an unsuspecting climber to be foolish enough to try and get to the top. The snow in this area is probably quite hard and compacted as the height of the mountains probably means the low-level winter sunlight rarely breaks through to add even a slight warmth to the scene. The trees are not blanketed in snow so this may tell us that there has been no recent snowfall.

imposing 印象的な・堂々とした / snow-capped 雪をいただいた / loom ぼんやりと現れる・気味悪く迫る / crack 裂け目 / gully 小峡谷 / crevice クレバス・深い裂け目・割れ目 / unsuspecting 疑わない・怪しまない / compact 密集した・ひきしまった / blanketed 覆われた



 In our third photo, we can see a beautiful Japanese winter wonderland scene of a village full of triangular-shaped homes with thatched roofs enveloped in carpets of snow, nestled at the foot of a forested mountain. In the dusky evening scene, the burning lights of all the homes cast a gentle glow across the snow outside. This is truly almost a Christmas Card scene, complete with a starry twinkle from the house on the right of the photo. We might guess this village is popular with tourists as many people seem to have braved the inclement conditions to be there. In fact, we can see many silhouettes of people in front of the house at the bottom-center of the photo. It must be a magical place to visit at this time of year.

wonderland おとぎの国・(景色の良い)すばらしいところ / triangular-shaped 3角の形の / thatched わらぶきの / enveloped つつまれた・覆われた / nestled 気持ちよく横たわる・身を落ち着ける / dusky 薄暗い / starry 星のように光る・ぴかぴか光る / increment condition 大変な条件 / magical 魅力的な・神秘的な



 I have spent a lot of time in Hokkaido over the past few years and have come to appreciate the beauty of that land’s harsh winters and how it shapes the characters of the amazing people up there in what I sometimes think of as ‘Japan’s Frozen North.’ The snow is white and gray, soft and hard, frozen and melting. It creaks underfoot and yet is almost soundless as well. But, first of all, it is the changing of many into one whole. It is a substance that turns grass, driveway, hay field, garden, log pile, car, tree, bush, collapsed barn, and stone wall into the one white everything. All is white as far as the eye can see and suddenly the world seems clean and pure once again. All things are possible and uncleanliness and imperfections are hidden. This is why I love snow.

 この数年、何回も北海道で過ごし厳しい冬の美しさとそれに囲まれた素晴らしい人々のことが分かってきました。日本の” Frozen North”だと思うこともあります。雪は白くグレー、柔らかくて固く、そして凍っては溶けます。足の下できしみますがほとんど音がしません。しかし何よりもはじめに、たくさんのものが1つに変化するということです。草木や道路、干し草畑、庭、積み上げた丸太、車、木、やぶ、壊れた納屋、石垣、すべてが1つの白になります。見渡す限り白になり、世界が再びきれいで純真なものになります。すべてのことが可能で、けがれたものや、壊れたものが隠されます。これが私が雪が好きな理由です。

soundless 音のしない・静かな・非常に深い / as far as the eye can see あたり一辺・見渡す限り / uncleanliness 汚い・不潔なもの / imperfection 欠点・欠陥