It’s no secret that winter and I are not the best of friends. I find the cold, short days tiresome. It tends to rub me the wrong way, bringing on dry skin, slippery roads, and back-breaking shoveling.
And yet, I continue to live here in the Northeast.
In some ways, living in these less-than-hospitable conditions has helped me hone my ability to search for, and find, the positive in most situations. It has sharpened my awareness and my senses as I seek out the things that make it bearable, or even kind of great.
There have been days when, dragging myself out the door, dreading the snow and ice, I was rewarded with a drive through a glimmering kingdom, with trees and hills and mountains mirroring the shards of sun they captured in their winks. It’s nothing less than magical.
And then, there are the waterfalls. I am fortunate to have several near my home. I love the way they freeze, and melt, and rage in the winter. Each day, they offer something just slightly different. Some days, when the air becomes suddenly frigid and the river still runs, I am rewarded with great gusts of steam climbing from those falls.
There is nothing that can clean and refresh an entire town overnight like freshly fallen snow. It creates a kind of hush- softening sounds, and hiding our flaws. It erases disparities between neighboring lawns, covering failed gardens and swampy turf, toys in yards, and unraked leaves. Even if it’s only for a moment. There is a peace that settles, enchanting an evening walk.
There are also the louder moments, like snowball fights, and sledding, and building crooked snowmen, to be enjoyed. For some, skiing and snow activities are the highlights of their year. While I can appreciate all them for their passion, if you take me skiing, it is highly likely you will find me in the lodge, near the fire, enjoying good company and maybe a book.
I have come to appreciate how winter changes perceptions, offering new opportunities to see the things (and people) around us. As most photographers know (even amateurs like myself), it is often the dreary days which offer up the best chance to capture a perfect shot. The play of lights and shadow and muted backgrounds, offer stark contrasts, often creating stunning images. Images that could not be captured on the ‘perfect’ days.
So, facing those cold bitter mornings, I find the glimmers of sparkle and teasers of spring, that make me happy. I embrace those moments, holding them close, as a treasure, buoying me through the rest.
While we may not be friends, winter and I, the chance to see things differently, perhaps a bit more clearly, is a gift I will continue to celebrate.