It’s 10:48 PM CST on December 21st, 2015. Winter has officially arrived! Snow! Sleet! Freezing rain! Bone-chilling cold! Thirty-foot drifts! Stalled cars! And the fun goes on and on. Note to my readers in Florida, Arizona, and New Mexico: shut up, I don’t want to hear it!
Like it or not, all of that will soon be upon us. And hating it is not going to make it go away. It’s only going to make you miserable. So I’m going to ask a hard thing of all of us. Let’s make friends with winter!
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that I’m one cucumber short of a salad. And I’m sure it’s had to make friends with an entity that causes you to take your life into your hands every time you get behind the wheel. But if you can find it within yourself to step outside, you’ll find that winter has a beauty all it’s own. For starters, there’s the silence. Winter is the time of year when all nature takes a three month nap. Most of the birds have flown south, and if they haven’t they are going about their business quietly. There is no mating or nesting going on and no territory to defend, so there’s little need to chirp. The squirrels also are quiet — no chattering from them. Everywhere you look and listen there is nothing but silence. If you think about it, that can have a special beauty all its own.
Walk through a forest and you’ll see empty nests no longer hidden beneath a blanket of green leaves. What kind of nests? Well you might find robin’s nests, cedar waxwing nests, and many others. Perhaps you’ll see interesting snow sculptures created by nature around a framework of naked branches. A Canada goose landing on a now-frozen pond might provide a little amusement.
Walk through your town or even your own neighborhood and see all of the colored lights and Christmas decorations adorning every dwelling. Artificial as it may be, there is still a beauty to it even if you aren’t a member of a faith that celebrates Christmas.
Winter is also a time to, as the song says, “conspire as you dream by the fire.” Celebrate all of the successes of the past year and plan out all of the wonderful things you want to do next year. Dream a thousand dreams about all of the amazing successes you plan to have in the years to come — and then start making plans on how you’re going to accomplish them. Note: don’t make New Year’s resolutions. You’re not going to keep them and you know it.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Even in the midst of a cold, dark, seemingly never-ending season, you can find a warm bright spot that can make the season a little more tolerable. It’s there. You just have to look for it.