Nature Photography Travel

In defense of Winter

There are all kinds of reasons to dislike winter.  On the other hand, there are also some features of the cold and flu season that adds value and essential goodness to our lives.

The problems of winter: It’s cold, dark, and often wet. I get it. 

This is the time of the year that is time-consuming and inconvenient. You have to wear more clothes which means more laundry and more time. Your commute is longer and, because there is less daylight, you spend more time in the dark. 

There are all kinds of reasons to dislike winter.  On the other hand, there are also some features of the cold and flu season that adds value and essential goodness to our lives.

Winter is beautiful

Unique beauty

While spring has it’s greens and pastel colors, winter brings us a beautiful pallet of muted tones that provide a peaceful uniformity. I love walking through a flocked woodland where every tree seems connected to their neighbor. When there is snow on the ground, it is as if the world is sound-treated to facilitate our quiet thoughts, only the trickle of a frozen stream seems to make its way into our awareness.

Nature’s savings account

Storing up for spring

All of the verdant beauty spring brings wouldn’t be possible without a good accumulation of snowpack that keeps the rivers flowing clear into the summer months. For the high desert where I live, we need months of consistent snowfall to ensure we have the water necessary for our everyday lives. So, when I am shoveling the wet snow off my driveway, for the sixth time, I try to remember that all of this moisture is collecting high above so I can enjoy plenty of water for my fun and feasting in the months to come. It causes me to look forward to the imminent possibilities the next seasons will bring.

The power of hope

Even with all of those positive aspects, perhaps one of the greatest impacts winter makes on us is the lesson in hope. Winter creates the potential of relief. It helps us to look forward to spring and thereby teaches us to hope for the future. This brings discipline and perspective beyond the desires for convenience and comfort. It is good to find depth through discomfort. When the warm glow returns, we may attribute the pleasure more to the sensation, but I believe it is also contains a feeling of gratitude that hope instigates. We are rewarded for our patience and it feels so good.

Prepare and celebrate

Of course, the best way to survive winter is to embrace it. Children tend to show the best example here as they find delight in all the details of the winter months. When was the last time you had a good mouthful of fresh snow? Don’t knock it!

Of course, being well prepared with tools and ideas makes all the difference. Wearing appropriate clothing with a layered approach will bring  comfort you never thought possible. Once you are so equipped, you can engage in winter-only activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, or even find a way to enjoy your warmer weather sports in a fresh new way. For example, If you like to ride bicycles, ‘fat bikes’ do really well in most snowy conditions. Even a winter’s walk is a unique experience due to the aforementioned qualities it provides. 

Learning to see the beauty and the unique opportunities winter presents is a sure way of not just ‘making it though’, but enjoying the chilly journey. I especially believe in the value of hope. We all have dark times in our lives and we need to have the ability to look forward to a better future, even when it seems impossible. Winter helps us learn how to travel through those dark hours, days, and years.

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