Why Winter Is Beautiful

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.

What I Did Last Summer

Spring was lost.

Summer was lost.

Uneventful days passed.

Life inched by like a snail going nowhere.

COVID has consumed six months now.

Six months gone.

Mostly alone.

Gone forever.

And yet I look at the good.

I can’t help it.

Good is always around.

Also forever.

One place I found it was in flowers.

Repetitive days of solitude

And safeness

Drew me to nature.

My camera my paintbrush.

Flowers my canvas.

So many patterns and colors

From 6 inches away.

Wonder

Beauty

Life

Joy

Summer was not lost after all.

A world covered in flowers is not only beautiful but a reassuring constant.

These thoughts formed as I thought about what I did over summer. There were a couple momentous events that I celebrated because birthdays and related plans still happen in pandemics. Most days were quiet. There was a lot of sameness and not much to shout about. I viewed medical appointments as chances to socialize a bit. My trips to the grocery store twice a month held high excitement.

My photos visually reflect what I did last summer whether I puttered about my back yard, paused to take a photo while walking in the neighborhood, or found myself in a favorite nature setting.

Patterns and colors in flowers captivated me this summer.
Everything about this makes me feel happy. The bright vibrant color. The layered petals. The petals slowly unfurling and still emerging from the center. It is a world in itself.
Floating flower art feels very zen.
Blues and purples are a soothing combination.
These colors remind me of a sunset. I marveled at several of these and found all were slightly different, just like every sunset.
This succulent reminded me of glazed pottery. I’m pretty sure it follows a Fibonacci sequence.
Bee balm attracts so much life. Watching its visitors has brought many happy moments to my summer.
Every flower has a story. I am one flower sharing mine.

A Week in Flowers

My writing life suffered this week. I originally planned a series of posts exploring the topic of fear and how I approached fear as someone living with metastatic breast cancer. Everything has been turned upside down in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and I struggled. I struggled with a lot of things. I stared at my drafts. I couldn’t get anything to work.

I was at a loss for words.

I felt lost.

One way I dealt with my feelings the past week was to post a photo a day of a photo I had taken that brought me joy. I can lose myself in pictures in a good way. No words are needed. It was my way of offering a positive distraction to the Facebook world when so many posts were centered on fear, sadness, misinformation, and politics.

And so I offer some floral sunshine of some favorite photos that make me feel happy. They restored some brightness and light. I find them reassuring and supportive. They give me a sense of hope and peace. May they do the same for you. Lose yourself in them. Find a favorite.

Find a way.

Always.

Champagne Wishes
Champagne Wishes

Bee at Work
Bee at Work

Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses

Good Morning Glory
Good Morning Glory

Have a Nice Daisy
Have a Nice Daisy

Lots of Lilacs
Lots of Lilacs

Blooming Like Madness
Blooming Like Madness