Published on November 25th, 2014 | by Editor0
I’m Thankful for Change
A friend of mine moved to sunny California a while ago and has forgotten what it is like to live in the Midwest. She was shocked when I sent her photos of the recent snowfall and of the temperature outside. Her weather is 70-something and sunny about 364.7 days out of the year.
Granted in March, when the winter is refusing to leave and still grips us tightly with spiny frozen fingers, 70-something and sunny sounds like a panacea, but in all honesty I couldn’t handle the monotony of it.
While I’m reluctant to admit it (and I’ll swear I never did) — my deep dark coal black secret is that I kind of like winter.
Alrighty, like might be too strong of a word here. How about I appreciate winter. Winter to me is like a period to a writer. It is the marker to let me know that there is an ending and a beginning.
I need that marker. It’s not like I really relish hiking in 10-inches of snow or wearing so many layers that I feel like the kid from the movie a Christmas Story or that I get great satisfaction from not being able to feel my hands.
But, I’m a Midwesterner from head to toe and I’m afflicted with some bizarre intrinsic need to have either my nose or toes frozen at least once a year. It is like a rite of passage.
Winter’s starkness makes the colors of the woods pop. The greens and reds of fall look brighter than ever when contrasted with the gleaming white of new snow. Rivers seem to slow down time as they wind through snow covered valleys.
My most memorable hikes were when I was slugging it through two feet of snow with fluffy snow dropping like powdered sugar on my coat. Or when my breath froze on my glasses and the staccato drum of the pileated woodpecker cracked open the quiet woods. And, the freezing afternoon that I stumbled into coyotes pouncing on snow covered prairie grasses. Each pounce sending enormous plumes of ice crystals into the still air where they stayed and twinkled in the sun’s light before gravity slowly pulled them back to earth. Or the time I went for a hike in negative 12-degree weather and discovered that the tranquil snow covered prairie was actually an active killing field for hungry hawks.
Winter forces us to slow down, take in the beauty of snow and ice, to see the vibrant colors, and when we’re done and back in the warmth of our homes, decide that this indeed is the best hike we’ve ever gone on, and that the hot chocolate isn’t too bad either.