NxNW: Winter offers riches, beauty beyond pitfalls
Winter is here! Early. We rush into summer like kids running into a lake, but winter elicits our groans and trepidation, something to be tolerated at best. At worst, it's hated, endured or escaped.
Winter is here! Early. We rush into summer like kids running into a lake, but winter elicits our groans and trepidation, something to be tolerated at best. At worst, it’s hated, endured or escaped.
I admit, I’m a girl of the north country, where the wind blows heavy on the border line. In fact, I’ve even tried to get to Greenland and the Arctic. (I haven’t made it yet). I like winter even if I hate driving in snowstorms and the other dangers and irritations that can emerge around daily movement and travel. Ok, and the dark part is hard – but that happens everywhere.
I have taken to preparing psychically for winter so that I relish it rather than dread it. Each year, we are encouraged to prepare our yards and gardens, our furnaces and our cars with our travel safety kits. We also need to prepare our minds, bodies and spirits. I try to do that by eagerly anticipating all the things I want to do and experience during the season.
Winter can be a time of growth, slowness, meditation and reflection. When do we get that in the busy running around that seems to increase every summer to squeeze out every ray of sunshine and glow of sunset? We are, after all, mammals, and a little hibernation is probably part of our DNA.
I now look forward to turning inward, retreating to books, music, movies and art and limiting my social schedule. When the colors outside are muted and monochrome, I find vividness in the intense emotions and provocative ideas of artistic expressions. And it’s always a good time to return to favorite television series and films. “Revenge,” (my guilty pleasure) anyone?
The other strategy I’m trying to follow is finding beauty. Winter can be beautiful and exhilarating, a time to feel very alive and invigorated. This must come to me from my childhood years spent skating at our local rink at night after dinner. The pleasure of heating up in the cold air, dark sky filled with stars overhead, seeing our breath in the night, the scratch of the skate blades on the ice.
There are sundogs, hoar frost, brilliant blue skies, and the most beautiful sunsets of the year, purple and rose.
Last year, with my first new pair of cross-country skis in 40 years, I planned weekends as much as I could around going cross-country skiing, here in Fargo-Moorhead and nearby as well as at the Luminary Loppett in Minneapolis and Maplelag. When the winter is measured by times to ski, it goes really fast, and before I knew it, the skiing season was over, and I was even sad about that.
Of course last year’s polar vortex was crazy, perhaps made worse by the very term itself. But I also have enormous gratitude for my having the means to own a car and have a warm place to live. With those riches, and with the beauties and opportunities that the season offers, I cannot complain about winter.