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Tag Archives: winter

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The weather outside is frightful . . . and has been so for quite a while now. Waking up to sub-zero (fahrenheit) temperatures is getting old. But today is the first of March and spring will arrive soon. And when that happens memories of cold winter mornings will quickly fade. For now however, I slip into my faux-fur lined leather slippers, prop my warm feet up, sip my coffee, and meditate on the winter scene outside my window. Yes, I am truly grateful for warm, comfy slippers on a cold winter morning!

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Winter is a harsh time of year for me. Since childhood i perceived winter to be a “dead” season. Everything went into hibernation: plants, animals, color, warmth, all of life! I viewed the landscape as barren, transformed into a dull monochromatic palette. Grays and whites depressed me. And I dreaded snow once it came because I knew that I would not see the ground again until spring thaw. But as I’ve aged my perception has definitely shifted. The shift may be due to the fact that I have become more mindful as i’ve mellowed with the years. Now I walk the wooded paths, listen to the crunch of my boots on snow and ice, and watch for the flutter of wings as winter birds take up residence. This past week as I wandered my favorite trails, I noticed that the leafless forrest branches were alive with birds of varied species: titmice, nuthatches, sparrows, dark eyed juncos (see above photo), cardinals, finches, various types of woodpeckers, starlings, and even a hawk. As I stood still and listened, watched, and breathed deeply, I felt an enormous sense of gratitude to have come to this stage and age in life when even in winter I am aware of the vibrancy of life. The birds help. I am grateful for birds in winter.

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Life for the past three and a half years has been filled with demands, deadlines, and all the stresses that go with  graduate studies. Too often I have gotten lost in the whirlwind of expectations and “busyness” of completing assignments, papers, presentations, and making the grade. Today that is behind me. I find myself relishing the freedom of nothing to do, at least for this grace time before starting a new job. Throughout these years however, when I felt burned out “to the max,” I discovered that running away to the woods for a brief respite where I could walk, listen to the sounds of nature and silence, and clear my brain of all things academic was the best medicine for all that “ailed” me. This year the snow came early, so my walks have been through the snowy woods. To my delight, I found once again that snow not only adds beauty and mystery to a scene, but a quietness that calms one’s thoughts while at the same time injecting a sense of wonder and awe to the moment. Wow. Something so simple as a walk through the woods on a snowy day brings peace and contentment that no amount of education or material gain can match. I am grateful for quiet walks in the snowy woods.

 

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