Wednesday, February 24, 2016

An Ode to Winter

I'm a person who craves seasons and all the changes they bring to the scenery. I'm drawn to the smells and the emotions; the freshness of spring, the activity of summer, the excitement of fall, but above all, I love the stillness of winter. Dare I say? It might be my favorite season.

Cue the uproar.

Winter gets a lot of flack. Happen to say to someone who lives in a cold and snow drifting location that you love the weather and they will look at you aghast. Then they will try to persuade you that you are totally misinformed. What about driving in the snow? Cleaning off the snow? The delays and cancellations that encroach on your neatly scheduled life? The cold! Can we talk about the below zero temperatures and pipes bursting and the seasonal depression disorder, the lack of sun and did we mention how cold it is?

I sit, patiently, listening to all of these reasons, but itch to share my view.

Winter. You are appreciated too little.

In November, you glide towards us, your presence becoming known as the temperatures cool and weathermen begin to share reports of flurries and snow storms. With anticipation, you carry us through December towards Christmas. Songs regale your beauty and the children remind us of your wonder as they dash about in fresh snow, building Frosty anew with fresh button eyes and a carrot nose. Talk of hot chocolate and curling up by the fire entrance us as we survey the opened gifts. Our bellies are full and our hearts happy as we stare out our windows as intricate snowflakes fall from a darkened sky. We are content to bask in your beauty.

But the enchantment of Christmas fades with the newness of another year and we bustle to accomplish our new list of resolutions. The grumbles begin as January lengthens. Delays and cancellations interrupt our lives. The beauty that once held us captive is now a burden to be overcome. Winter, you have outstayed your welcome. When do you plan to leave?

The darkness persists and cabin fever runs rampant. Children become restless, parents and educators irritable. We wait expectantly for a glorified rodent to give us hope: Will spring come early this year? Cheers or groans accompany the answer, but either way, the population slouches doggedly on through February towards the newness of spring in March.

We refuse to acknowledge you anymore, Winter. We are done with your dance. Back up your belongings and get onto the road. We dislike your appearance and despise your company. Goodbye and good ridden.

But Winter never changed. The magic and beauty of that first snow fall doesn't escape with the second or third. Winter has always brought with it snow and shorter days. Winter is upfront with her personality and gifting; we are the ones who have lost our perspective.

Now let me be clear. I am not exempt from the irritation or after Christmas blues, and I certainly cannot understand nor relate to deep Northern winters (I live in Southern Ohio. We are lucky to get snow some years.) My perspective, however, focuses on the stillness.

Have you ever noticed how quiet it becomes when the snow begins to fall in earnest? I read somewhere it has to do with the water particles interacting with sound waves and it literally quiets the landscape. It's. So. Quiet.
There isn't much you can do. You're limited to activities that keep you inside, which are honestly a dream to this introverted, book loving, cat cuddling, tea drinker. Give me an excuse not to interact with the outside world and I will happily burrow under a blanket. But the stillness gets me every time and holds me captive.

Maybe it's because God has been speaking to me about being quiet and still, but I'm saddened to see winter begin to say her goodbyes. I want to linger in this space, gazing at the snow falling. It calms me and helps me to ignore the clamor. As the temperature rises, I foresee the demands of life encroaching. Do this, go there. Winter is the only season that reigns over our posture, making us bow to her will. She will leave soon, though, and I will wave, wishing her back again next season and hoping for a more beautiful display than the last.

Until that time, bring on the snow.

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