Thoughts On Winter

Picture 2224It is now cold. It hasn’t been. We’ve been spared up until recently. But now, winter as we know it has arrived and is settling in, and behaving as it should. For the first time this season, the wood pile is showing signs of our frequent hauls, the animal’s water buckets freeze several times throughout the day, and the car engines groan when we start them. I was starting to worry that winter had passed us by. I’m sorry that I had to say that. You’re probably wondering what kind of person would cheer on the cold, the snow, the ice. Well, that ‘kind’ of person seems to be me, I love winter. It’s o.k. if you think this is weird ( I’m certain I’ve been considered a lot worse), but as this season has ticked by with its balmy weather and high temperatures, I have had this gnawing feeling that winter, real winter, wouldn’t show up. What about ice fishing?? So far, the annual ice fishing derby has had to be postponed twice for fear that the ice wasn’t thick enough. Not Right!
Pond hockey? Those days in mid-January when you gather up a bunch of skaters and assorted sticks and head down to Kingdom pond for a few lively games, we can’t miss that! And let me just say, that no winter would be complete without a ferocious ride through the sheep fields on our flexible flyers. Then there’s knitting, spinning, soup making, and all of the reading to consider. A very long list of activity, restorative activity that is, to be enjoyed during the cold winter months.
I know winter can pose some problems and inconveniences. The traveling can be treacherous. Pipes may freeze. The snow and ice can accumulate on the rooftops and cause problems. Then there’s the possible threat to the landscape when ice or heavy snow builds up and damages trees and shrubs. We deal with these too and groan along with everyone else when these situations arise. However, in my little ‘I love winter’ heart, I’m taking it all in stride. Accepting winter for what it is, brutal sometimes, difficult, asking us to rely on our hardier selves and brave the cold, snow, and ice.
How do you survive the winter? With cheer or with dread? Or maybe a little of both? Many of my friends say I have no business promoting the greater aspects of winter, they suspect that I may have been a reindeer herder in Siberia during a past life, and this distant life keeps creeping in when the sun is at the southernmost point of its journey. Maybe. I suppose anything is possible, and so, please bear with me as I enjoy my ample dose of winter! I’ll leave you, as I go out to stomp on the bottoms of frozen water buckets, with this poem by Wendell Berry…..

“The Cold”, by Wendell Berry

How exactly good it is
to know myself
in the solitude of winter,

my body containing its own
warmth, divided from all
by the cold; and to go

separate and sure
among the trees cleanly
divided, thinking of you

perfect too in your solitude,
your life withdrawn into
your own keeping

-to be clear, poised
in perfect self-suspension
toward you, as though frozen.

And having known fully the
goodness of that, it will be
good also to melt.

18 comments on “Thoughts On Winter

  1. I like winter, too. I have to admit, I would like it best if it would stay around 25-30 degrees, sunny, and no wind but, since that isn’t possible, I’ll take what it sends. It seems odd, though, doesn’t it, that they say this huge winter storm is coming east but it isn’t going to get us or you, I don’t think! Maybe I’ll stay in, hunkered in front of the fire all weekend, and *pretend* we’re getting 2 feet of snow!

  2. Good post for today. It’s 19 degrees BUT the sun is shining. I can take whatever winter dishes out as long as the sun shines. Days on end of gloomy gray skies tend to get to me. Our bags of pellets are going down with your wood pile. The pellet stove roars from 6-10 and then the furnace kicks on at night if it drops too low. I just finished two paper piecing projects and am ready to give my brain a rest and move on to another project. My problem now is choosing – photograph organization, appliqué, needle punch, baby quilt or king size quilt. I’m tired thinking about it so maybe I’ll just read a while and gather my strength. LOL 🙂

  3. I will think of you this weekend, when we, waaaaay down “south” here get some snow! (or don’t, it’s not for sure until it’s on the ground) ~ the weather people are a little over excited about any storm, i think are desperate, from the lack of winter to report on thus far)! Fingers crossed for some more white stuff! :)))))))

  4. Thank goodness! Someone else who truly loves winter!! I feel as though I come alive in winter,nothing like a bitter wind and powder in your face to put us in our place in nature…

    • Hi Pam,I was talking with someone yesterday about winter, it seems really quite true that some people do feel like they ‘come alive’ in winter, while others feels a bit burdened….lack of mobility,lack of sunlight….and I think these are real things that do affect people. It did get us to wondering..why the difference? is it chemical? Are we predisposed to either like winter/not like winter? When i am out doing chores and it is bitter cold, the wind sharp, I do feel more alive…less insulated from the elements I guess, and I like it. Funny thing, I never feel this way when I’m sweating from heat! Go figure! Great to hear from you….I guess we are going to miss the blizzard here in Maine, boo hoo!

  5. I think there are many of us winter-lovers in Maine; that’s part of the reason we live here. I must admit that I found last winter difficult and (for the first time in my life!) was dreading the arrival of winter this year. But now that real winter weather has arrived, I’m remembering why I love it so much. We get a lot of winter sunshine in Maine, and the quality of light (both sunlight and moonlight) reflected on snow is breath-taking. We also get a lot of our snow in that temperature band that creates perfect powder! Time to get out on my cross-country skis. I also love the time to work on indoor chores and projects and to just curl up with a good book and a warm wood fire. Enjoy the season.

    • Great to hear, Jean! I feel the same way. I hate to think of people feeling insulated or uncomfortable….cold or lonely. Somehow I seem to be able to dive into the piles of projects and such that I can’t even look at in the summer months….and this keeps me very engaged through the winter. I also like the silence and the reflective tone that winter seems to bring with it, my body/mind really needing this hibernation state after the hectic growing season. Enjoy it all, as I say!! Best to you , Jean, and we’ll see you in the spring!!

  6. I am with Judy and Jean on the winter sunshine–it makes all the difference. I love having four distinct seasons and the restorative aspect of winter. But when we lived in Anchorage, Alaska, winter was cloudy and dark for months on end, which I eventually found depressing. This Maine winter, with so many days of brilliantly clear skies, light-filled with sun and moon shine (wasn’t the moon lovely last night?) suits me exactly.

    • So true…that glorious, brilliant, restorative, needful sun…..oh, we need you so! And you too, Moon, to set our internal clocks, to remind us to be sky viewers, to bring us out at night…We are so lucky that Maine is so well situated for all such things! Good day to you!!

  7. I’m another winter lover. I grew up in PA, but after school lived mostly in GA and I really missed winter. Who expects paperwhites and narcissus to bloom outside in January? I love a snowy day…I like to bake, watch the birds and read. And build a snow cat if the snow packs.

    • Hi Linda,
      It sounds like you’ve hit upon the best winter activities…baking, reading, and keeping an eye out for our feathered friends….fine ways to spend a winter day, for sure! We tend to bake a lot here in winter as well…just made a yummy apple cake with some of our stored apples, but it seems I have a hunkering for a lemon pie…this requires a trip to the market. Hmm, a trip out or scrap the lemon pie?? Tough choice! Enjoy your day, Linda.

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