The cold weather, impending snow, bare trees and frigid air always get me to thinking and contemplating.
There's no denying the beauty of winter. The hush that falls over the earth as it naps, preparing to once again provide us with fertile land to enjoy and to plant seeds in. Seeds that grow and become a bountiful harvest for use to enjoy. A harvest that will help us get through another winter in warmth and with full stomachs. While the earth rests, so do we.
Under a blanket of snow, with the cold air snapping at our windows, we stay snug inside with fires burning. Tending to tasks of the home more than ones of the outdoors. Children focus more on their lessons. Time is spent with family, sharing stores, playing games, reading books. The snow is admired and enjoyed with time sledding, playing on the ice and general merriment. Hot chocolate is sipped, hot stews warm us from the inside out. At least, this is traditionally what this time of year has meant. It's changed over time with our modernization and technology.
Now, while the earth sleeps, we can, as we do all year, adjust our thermostats to compensate for the cold and stop by the local grocery store to load up on the food we need. Life continues as usual, with the snow and cold seen more as a nuisance rather than appreciated for it's beauty and the changing seasons of the year.
During winter, we need to step back a moment and appreciate the wonder that is around us. Moonlight and sunlight glistening off snow. The wonder of a child watching the delicate flakes fall from the sky, coating the trees, ground, roads, roofs and everything else beneath the clouds. A rabbit you may never know is in your yard, but for the little foot prints left behind in the snow. A cardinal, brilliant red against the white, feasting on the seeds in a bird feeder. The crunch of snow beneath your feet when you venture outdoors for a snowball fight. Children's laughter ringing joyously through the chill.
The days that bring no snow, yet are so quiet it's as though the world has stopped, just for a moment, to close its eyes. The cold that makes a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate taste, oh, so much better. Especially when it's drunk in front of a blazing fire while you're under a fluffy blanket reading a book. Time cuddled in bed, enjoying the warmth and cuddling with your spouse. Art projects and stories to entertain the kids. Time spent outside, bundled up warm, for a walk just to enjoy nature. Memories made of the kids sledding or ice skating. Hours spent wrapped up in a soft sweater, warm woolen mittens, knit caps, snug boots, cozy socks, and the downiest of blankets (as the situation allows). There's no better feeling than the snugness winter offers, should you accept it.
Fill your table with foods of the season, rather than ones that are available in stores just because of the ability to ship them. Fresh, sweet citrus fruits. Gorgeous, vitamin-filled squashes. Hearty stews, filled with beef and root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots. Crusty, fresh breads. Meatloafs like mom used to make. Homemade soups, such as chicken noodle and potato. Roasted chickens. Flavorful beans. Embrace what winter offers to nourish you in order to truly enjoy it for what it is. A time for hearth, home, reflection and memories.
Winter whispers of so many wonders that are there to delight you, if you listen. Let winter blend the days of yore, when times were simpler, with the life of today. Enjoy it.
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