Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Magical Season of Winter

This post originally appeared on BlogHer in November 2009.

Winter sky
Can you believe how beautiful the winter sky can be even with an iPhone?

When I tell people that my favorite season is winter, they think I’m crazy.  Most people think of short days, cold weather, hectic holiday shopping, and endless snow.  Of course I also mind these inconveniences, but I still relish the coming season.

Perhaps it is because I was born in January in the middle of a blizzard in North Dakota.  Perhaps it is because my kids were born in November and December.  There are a million reasons, but the heart of my love for winter is that life can finally slow down, so you can stop to appreciate the love inside your home and the beauty outside.

In the summer, especially in New England, there is an expectation to make the most of the good weather.  There’s no excuse just to laze around indoors.  You have to travel while the kids are out of school.  If you’re not traveling, you need to make the most out of every non-rainy day by doing something outside.  Never mind that it’s hot and sticky, you must take the kids to the playground, or on a hike, or to a lake, beach, water park or amusement park!

Sure we also go skiing in the winter, but it is prohibitively expensive to do on a regular basis.  After the holiday season, our calendars are finally free of non-stop activities.  And finally, I have time to do things around the house that have been piling up around me.  One of my favorite things to do is go through all the photographs from the previous year (i.e. obsessively tag them in Flickr) and choose which ones to print.  If I’m ambitious, I even make a photo book.  Sewing and knitting projects are finally completed.  And those books and magazines piling up?  They are finally read in peace instead of in bits and pieces during sports practices.  It finally becomes okay to be a homebody for a change.

IMG_3174

Winter isn’t dark, look around at all the beautifully lit houses around the holidays.  Candles in the windowsills look ever so peaceful.  White lights are always classy, colored lights are festive.  Add some snow and it becomes a picture-perfect postcard.  Last year, my daughter caught her finger in a door late one evening and we packed her up to bring to the emergency room because she was screaming in so much pain.  In the car, we kept telling her to look at the lights.  After a few minutes, she was quiet and mesmerized.  At that point, I turned to my husband and said, “Let’s just drive around and look at the lights, I think she’s fine.”  We drove for a half an hour through the fancy sections of town as she ooh’ed and ahh’ed at the beautiful decorations.  We brought her home, tucked her in bed and she was just fine.  Magic, I tell you.

Here’s another piece of beauty that I experienced this weekend.  I was driving home from shopping with my son at 4:30pm and it was already starting to become dark.  It had rained heavily the day before and was overcast for most of the day, so the weekend was pretty much a wash out.  But as we looked at the darkening sky, we saw clouds streaking the sky in long lines as if painted by a paintbrush.  As we pulled off the highway onto country roads, we saw fog forming in the trees.  The setting sun beamed hazily through the fog and turned the sky brilliant colors, first orange and then purple.  As the sun set, the trees were enveloped in a soft purple haze, the furthest ones barely visible.  We had great music playing and I kept exclaiming to my son, “Look at the trees, isn’t it amazing?”  He truly seemed to appreciate the beauty we were experiencing, that can only happen during the colder parts of the year.

Purple sky

Winter is not cold, it is the warmest season, just ask author Lauren Stringer.  There is nothing cozier than sitting by a fire while it is snowing outside.  And what warms better than hot chocolate or spiced apple cider?  In the winter, our cats are finally allowed to sit in our laps and sleep on our beds, we have tick problems in every other season.  It is so warm!

Winter Is the Warmest Season: Lauren Stringer

Hopefully, my love of winter has rubbed off a bit.  Happy winter solstice and enjoy it while it lasts!

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