Winter’s Embrace…

I’ve been away from the North for over twenty years now, but I still remember winter’s bite on my cheek as I skied down a mountain in Upstate New York. The day my best friend and I went cross country skiing and found ourselves on the hardest trail makes me smile even tonight. We had to ski through a creek, several times and all we did was flail about and laugh.

Wisconsin winters brought a cold I’d never felt, so taking those first tentative steps onto the road counted as bravery. I ran in the cold darkness, since sunset arrived around 4:30. We had no street lights, so some evenings brought me freedom, while others handed me bleakness and every mile lasted a day. I learned to skate there, and we had a real pond that iced over in winter, so we could skate under bright blue skies and laugh.

This year I’m in a boot for twisting tendons in my foot, so winter has been spent enjoying fresh bread slathered with butter on it for dinner while I burrow under a blanket. Most evenings we have a fire, and my husband and I watch so many different shows. Evenings spent with him in candlelight by the firelight are beautiful and calming.

Winter takes her sweet time, and for me she seems to stay longer than I’d like, but if I take the time to watch the slant of the sun week by week, I notice the change. We’re on the other side of the winter solstice, and every day brings us another minute or two of sunshine. Where I live winters are full of grey clouds and sullen, moody skies, so we joke about not seeing the sun for months. Sunny days are fully embraced and enjoyed for the gift they are.

I suppose that’s why so many of us find happiness in a simple cup of coffee. It wakes me up and warms me through. I look forward to my first two cups, and later in the day I might have an espresso. (And I wonder why I’m awake at night.) Actually, I have always been a night person, and as the fire flickers and makes small hissing sounds, I hear the wind whipping around the house.

One of the coziest feelings in the world, other than climbing into bed and waiting for the sheets to warm up a bit, is feeling safe and warm inside while a winter wind blows constantly way up the chimney. Another winter favorite is waking up to the smell of French-pressed coffee and bacon. Pair that with some eggs, my twitter feed, and the pile of magazines waiting to be read, and I’m happy all day long.

Spring will begin to announce her impending arrival in small, quiet ways soon enough, and then we’ll spill out of our cocoons and visit by the mailboxes and during evening walks. But winter is a gift, even if she’s wrapped in grey and brings gusty cold winds from the Arctic. We have to accept the gift and find the good in today, in tonight.

Maybe a walk in the woods, looking at the brown, bare branches against the still green moss underfoot is just what our soul needs. Maybe we have to weave together our own magic to find the beauty and calm in a cup of fragrant tea, sketching and painting, writing poetry or playing music, cooking a steak dinner or baking bread. I revel in a season by reading books that take place in winter, and I always read The Long Winter by Wilder if I’m feeling down and exasperated with my own personal winter.

You can find happiness almost anywhere if you look. Find a park and walk, or enjoy the country road. Revel in the snow and laugh as it muffles your world. If snow doesn’t kiss your town, then enjoy the lengthening days, even if it’s not terribly warm. Wear your sweats and a pair of thick socks and turn on some music that fills you with moments of pure beauty. Dance. Laugh. Eat. Drink. Cuddle. Smile.

Revel in the heart of winter. Look up at her starry skies that look so clear you want to reach up and grab one to put in your pocket for a lucky day. Bake cookies and eat them. Stay by a candle if you don’t have a fireplace. I’m off to read the cookbooks I found at a used bookstore today. I have quite a treasure waiting for me, so I’ll keep listening to the gusty night and smile.

I hope you find happiness wherever you are. Until next time….


One thought on “Winter’s Embrace…

  1. Original, Beautiful words of hope and encouragement. Thank You!

    I don’t write lovely words like you. But, your words reminded me of this song:
    The Rose sung by Bette Middler:
    “ Just remember, in the winter
    Far beneath the bitter snows
    Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love
    In the spring becomes the rose.”🌹
    May God Bless Your Soul with Peace and Happiness.

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