That is exactly why I like winter. By November I am more than ready to slow down and hole up for a while. Of course, the holidays mean that activity continues for a while longer as we cook, gather together, eat, party, and celebrate. But finally January does come, the merry-making ends, and we are left with---winter.
Mornings dawn late and cold. Frost covers the ground. The birds are at the feeders early and even with their twittering and motion there is a quiet on the land. Slowly the sun crests the ridge, floods the land with white light—and all remains still and frozen. Some mornings the sun does not appear; dark clouds block his face and the world huddles in chilled gray silence.
In my kitchen, the gray light warms to yellow when we turn on the lights. Water flows into the kettle. The gas hisses blue as I put the kettle over the fire. The gas fireplace sends flickering light over me as I sip my first cup of morning tea, wrapped snugly in my robe and slippers. I watch day break through the lace-curtained windows and listen to the twittering birds. Coffee smells filter in as Larry prepares his morning brew. We sit by the fire, tea and coffee in hand, and discuss what we will do on this winter’s day.
Perhaps the temperatures will war to above freezing, or perhaps not. What is a given is that the trees will remain bare skeletons of their summer selves, the flowers will not bloom; under the earth, bulbs might be stirring, seeds swelling, and roots digging deeper but on the surface all is quiet and at rest.
I enjoy the simplicity of this season. I can see the beauty of the trees’ shapes, I can see unexpected views which once were hidden behind green leafy curtains. Icicles sparkle and the frost traces delicate patterns on shed windows. Even the dead weeds take on unexpected beauty in their winter-dried state, adding golden-brown spikes to winter’s gray and white.
I like the enforced inactivity. Gone is the rush of summer, the pressure of spring, the demands of autumn. We can simply do nothing if we choose. Imagine doing that at any other time of year. I can sit by the fire and watch the flicker of flames and simply enjoy that simple beauty. Of course there is still work to be done but the pressure is less because there is no worry about what is not being done in the gardens or the yard while I do other things. I can pick and choose, while in the warmer months I am scurrying to do what must be done.
On this winter’s night I hear a dog barking somewhere, and the whine of someone’s truck crossing the ridge. The only other sound is the hiss of the gas heater and my fingers on these keys. Yes, I like winter.