I know that people who live in warmer places think I’m crazy, but I love winter. At least in December, I do. (March is a little different story). It’s December 1st , and we are without the snow and cold that we should have here in the North at this time of year. It’s unsettling. Will this be a brown Christmas, or is Mother Nature saving up for a big snow (fingers crossed)?
There’s just something about snow. There are few things that I find as soul-satisfying as a long walk in a heavy snowfall, or a cross-country ski through the woods by lantern-light. It’s the silence, I think. The silence of new snow is like no other. It’s a cushioned silence, a velvet silence, a rabbit-soft silence.
And there are the indoor pleasures of winter: a comfortable couch, a good book, a hot drink, and a window with a busy bird feeder just visible above the frosted corners of the glass…hot baths, new wool socks, anything filled with goosedown…these are a few of my fav-o-rite things.
Even the harsher aspects of winter appeal to me. The Long Winter was the Laura Ingalls Wilder book that most captured my imagination. I’ve probably read it 20 times. I will never get the image of the cows with their heads frozen to the ground by their own breath out of my mind, and I am still determined to make a faux-apple pie out of green pumpkin someday. I know the reality wasn’t that enjoyable, and that the family probably barely survived (assuming the stories were true), but the vicarous thrill and triumph of making it through that brutal season marked me forever.
Winter around here can be a little like that–a seeming (though not usually actual) feat of survival. It makes me feel tough to live here, and strong, and indomitable. Maybe what I really love about winter is that it binds me in some way to all my favorite literary heroines–I can bundle up and venture out into a snowstorm like Laura and Mary taking hot water to Pa; I can revel in the warmth of a long-awaited fire like Jane Eyre finally liberated from Lowood; daydream about the gifts I will buy like the March sisters planning for Marmee. Then there’s Jack London’s hapless Yukon traveler and his faithful, much-smarter dog, Whittier’s “fenceless drift that once was road,” Capote’s dotty cousin crying out joyously, “It’s fruitcake weather!” So many literary winters I’ve read of while snow swirled outside my own window.
All photos (including site header and author photos) taken by Steven R. Peterson