Winter is beautiful with lots of snow to paint the surroundings in postcard scenes. Enthusiasts hit the outdoors with passion. Others enjoy the scenic views from inside. It’s how it should be in Wisconsin. Snowbirds fly south. Of course, many live in warmer climates all year by choice. Winter takes on a greener and warmer meaning in those places.
Memories of snow days as a child were rare miracles. A free day playing at home. The appreciation of a snow day was not lost on me as a teacher. They always came along at the right time. Virtual learning throughout the pandemic has made the snow day obsolete. As a retired educator, every day is extended summer for me or a snow day depending on the time of year.
I love Thich Nhat Hanh’s wisdom for many reasons. His thoughts on snow fit perfectly with a Wisconsin winter. I’ve come back to one of his quotes several times this winter.
If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.Thich Nhat Hanh
I hope to provide some pictorial joy of the snow for you today.
A fresh snowfall looks so pristine. Diamond glints catch in the sunshine and the snow sparkles invitingly. You don’t want anything to disrupt these views. All is still and quiet everywhere you look. It always feels a little magical when I get to be one of the first to experience a landscape after a snowfall.
Cross country skiing and walking is my favorite way to enjoy winter scenery. Walking provides more flexibility and exploration. There is beauty around every bend. I also don’t worry about my balance or falling when walking. Walking means I can do hills! I have become a year round outdoor walker.
The historic Hyde’s Mill was a new discovery for me this winter. It’s a stone dam with a wooden water wheel dating back to 1850. It felt frozen in time and yet the gurgling sound of water rushing helped me appreciate the present moment. This was earlier in winter. I haven’t been back but I’m confident the water has frozen solid by now. I look forward to making trips in other seasons for comparisons and to travel back in time once more.
Contrasting views during and after a big snowfall have been fun to see this winter. Both have their own beauty. It was enjoyable to watch the snow coming down from the warmth of my home. The next morning was stunning where the sun slowly melted the snow off of tree branches.
Cardinal company is a treat all year. The red stands out on a white background.
There is so much to take in on winter walks, more than just snow. These views hold memories for me and tell stories. While passing the bench, I wondered when I last held snow in my bare hands. I couldn’t remember, so off came my gloves and I scooped up a handful. It was cold and packable, really good snow. It felt refreshing and took me back to childhood very briefly.
The last time I went sledding was a few decades ago. The pandemic has brought adults out in droves over winter to partake again in this childhood activity. Everyone seems a little more stir crazy than usual this year. Sledding is such a fun way to experience the thrill of the hill and flight on snow. There is laughter and screaming. It’s a momentary escape and opportunity to release and let go of unhelpful feelings. While sledding, I felt like a kid again who could do anything. I felt fully alive. I even made a snow angel that only partly turned out. New traditions can start at any age. We are only as old as we feel.
This was a truly beautiful day and now a treasured memory.
I hope if you have snow where you are, you have found a way to enjoy it.