Well, I sure wasn’t ready for this yet! We got our first snow of the season yesterday, and it wasn’t just a teaser, it was a smack-you-in-the-face-wake-up-call. Of course I’m being dramatic (it’s only four inches), but I really dread the cold sloppiness of a northwest Ohio winter. I cleaned my gutters twice last week because they were jammed with leaves from my prolific maple trees, and today I shoveled snow. Most years we have time to get through fall before winter comes lumbering into our lives like the proverbial bull in a china shop. It feels unsettling to have a significant snow this early. There’s supposed to be a rhythm to the seasons, gosh darn it, with time to make the mental adjustment to the next one.
I complain mightily now, but I know in a few weeks I’ll be resigned to it and will be able to find enjoyment in (some aspects of) winter. This morning after I shoveled the driveway, I begrudgingly trudged around the backyard with my phone, taking photos of the native plants in their winter hats and coats.
I remember a day about a decade ago when I went for a walk in the woods one winter and had a sort of awakening, because I’d never done that before. It seems unbelievable to me now, but before that day, I had never gone outside in winter for the sole purpose of taking a walk. Sure, I’d gone sledding or birding, but never just walking and paying attention to the details. I found interesting ice formations on a creek, wind patterns in the snow, and the stunning sight of bluebirds in the black-white-gray woods. I felt I’d discovered an exciting new world, and now I treasure winter walks.
I must admit, though, that one of the best parts of a winter walk is coming back to the warmth of the house and curling up with a blanket and hot cup of tea.
As I write this, the sun is shining brightly, already starting its job as Melter-in-Chief. I’m grateful for that today; it helps me see the beauty of the snow and not dwell (too much) on the long, dark months ahead. Sophie is making the most of her favorite sunspot, blissfully unaware of the cold on the other side of those windows. I envy animals sometimes for their ability to live in the moment, without worrying about the future.
When I started writing this, it was intended to be a sort of venting of my begrudging acceptance of winter. But as I’ve been writing and thinking about it, I’m reminded that we only appreciate the warmth because we know the cold. We appreciate the flowers and insects in summer because of their absence in winter. And, truth be told, I wouldn’t like to live anywhere that didn’t have the dramatic seasonal changes that we have here. Change is what makes things interesting.
I doubt I’ll ever be converted to one of those people who love winter, but I can tolerate it, and sometimes even appreciate it. Well…as long as I know there’s another spring at the end of it.
Before I go, here’s a short video I just took looking out my kitchen window, showing leaves falling on fresh snow. That’s just not right, LOL.