Winter Patience & Pleasure

Winter scene outside the writer’s back door.

By February 2, groundhog’s shadow or no groundhog’s shadow, many Pennsylvanians are ready to call for an end to winter. Oddly, I am not one of them. I think winter still has more to offer.

After a festive holiday season that marks the end of one year and the start of another, I enjoy slowing down the pace. Winter, with its early sunsets, chilling winds, and slippery roadways, gives me that opportunity.

There are school closings and fewer plans for extracurricular activities. Mornings and evenings at home – without the usual rush to get somewhere – offer the rare opportunity to blend a batter of banana walnut waffles or to drink an extra cup of herbal tea while listening to classical music on public radio (WVIA-FM).

Here in 2018, we are busy people most of the time. Winter gives us an opportunity to be something more.

I have come to realize that I only find such simple winter pleasures when I look for them. Following a fast-paced routine most of my days offers some reward. Stillness, however, gives me more, and stillness is a fringe benefit of winter.

When things slow down, I find that I am more than a body responsible for completing an assigned list of tasks every day. Winter reminds me that I am a part of nature and that much of nature is beyond my control. In winter, I can rail against the season’s cold heart or I can find comfort in its beauty.

Summer chairs sulk briefly in winter white.

An overnight snowfall last week reminded me that, so often, beauty is fleeting. Scenes I photographed in the early morning lost their magic long before midday. Nature has its way of revealing our mortal condition. Nothing lasts forever.

Winter will lead us, eventually into spring. Summer heat will slow us down once again. The ebb and flow of activity is part of nature. I remind myself of this when I start to feel guilty for sitting down and doing nothing much at all this winter.

Nothing much can be everything. I prove this when I take a walk and enjoy the breathtaking scenery surrounding my home. I confirm it again, when I pick up a lengthy novel (this month, it is Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina) knowing I have time to sit quietly and read.

Here in 2018, we are busy people most of the time. Winter gives us an opportunity to be something more.

“The colder it gets the more you’ve got to love it.”

Environmentalist and author Rick Bass, who appears in Working Class: Build & Grow Green, gives this advice in his book Winter (Notes from Montana):

“Love the winter. Don’t betray it. Be loyal. When the spring gets here, love it too – and then the summer. But be loyal to the winter all the way through – all the way, and with sincerity – or you’ll find yourself high and dry longing for a spring that’s a long way off, and winter will have abandoned you, and in her place you’ll have cabin fever, the worst. The colder it gets the more you’ve got to love it.”

Forget about the groundhog’s shadow, forget about cabin fever, slow down and love this winter.

Perky sheltie Jacob Solomon Barkley reminds this blog writer how to make the most of winter.

2 thoughts on “Winter Patience & Pleasure”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Worth while writings. Winter can be a time to reflect on you and yours. Winter with snow is a blessing to my whole family!

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