I’ve always considered myself an autumn-type of gal. Fall-ish. Something about the start of the school year cuing me to put in motion all of the “goals” I’ve laid out for myself. The kaleidoscope effect from the colors of the turning leaves. The hint of wood burning from those people still left with an actual fireplace. The cooler weather. The lower angle of the sun. Being able to return to my denim, boot, scarf attire. Knowing that the boys are happily engaged in the football game on the screen and I am able to flit around as I see fit. Soup, soup and more soup.
As I’ve grown older though, fall still has all of those qualities but it has become increasingly busy. What with all of the fall sports. The new fall schedules to manage. The lead-in to the holidays. The holidays themselves. Fall leaves me exhausted.
Which is why I now look for refuge in winter.
I stole away from my house this morning after treating myself to a nourishing bowl of yogurt and “Do-It-Yourself Granola” with a drizzle of honey on top. I left behind my lego strewn home (Are we sensing there’s a problem with Lego management in our household?) and headed outside to try and clear my mind.
The first deep chill to hit me had me reconsidering my walk but I continued on and my body grew accustomed to the temperature. I slipped on my knitted mittens, breathed deeply and set off down the trail. Not many people out. Neighbors gone for the holidays. People staying bundled inside. I felt as though I had the whole neighborhood to myself and I found it rather peaceful.
I love the long shadows of winter.
I admire the unabashed nakedness of the bare trees.
The bit of cold, winter wind hitting my face was invigorating as I breathed it in. (Or, it could have been the caffeine from the latte I was drinking but either way….)
I heard the quacks of a few ducks staying put for the winter off in the distance. The rare car engine as it hummed by. A lone hawk squawked from high up in the trees but other than the sound of my feet crunching on the gravel, these were the only sounds I heard.
Winter doesn’t have the obligations that the other seasons have. The yard is dormant. The feeling that “I should go here” or “I should go there” doesn’t exist because it’s too cold or too rainy to go here or there. We stay inside, always a little drowsy….perhaps a lack of Vitamin D or some instinctual hibernation effect…and we are forced to slow down. To spend time with one another. To really have the time to look each other in the eyes and pay attention. And, we have the time to consider the balance of our lives so that when the blanket of winter lifts, we are restored.
As I made my way back up the hill, heavy, white clouds were closing over the blue skies that had accompanied me on my walk. By the time I reached my home, the tiniest of snow flakes were softly, drifting down from the sky. Before long, three inches had gathered and sent the children flying outside, leaving me with a quiet, (albeit, lego strewn) peaceful home. And, from inside my warm, cozy house, I could gaze outside and admire the ethereal beauty of winter.
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009