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A Walk into the Silent Beauty
As I gaze out into the expanse of the area around me, I am surrounded by white. The color of purity…and of innocence. It is all around me, and I am engulfed within its presence. It is cold, yet so beautiful. It is a clean slate, and a chance to start anew. Not a single footprint can be seen on its icy coat, and it lights up the area on even the darkest of nights. I close my eyes and listen to its silence, and smile as a snowflake gently kisses my cheek before drifting down to join its comrades. In the sunlight, the sun glimmers off the fresh powder, making it appear like thousands of miniscule diamonds that can never be captured.
When I hear myself talk about this image, I instantly think of a luxurious place that is yet untouched by man. The ironic part of it is that I wrote it late at night after shoveling my suburban driveway. The way that the snow fell around me and the soft whisper of the wind made me feel as though I was in a world of my own.
The Meaning of Winter
The word winter is actually German in reference and was once called wintar. It has altered from the original word of wed which means wet or water. Although many people think of water as the element for summer, winter is the season that encompasses the element to its fullest potential. That is also why water is seen more as a darker element (because the nights are longer) and is considered feminine.
The Paradox of Things
One of the things I find the most interesting about winter is that it is considered the “dark time” of the year when, in fact, it is not. Winter usually starts on the 21st or 22nd of December (depending on the year) and it purposely coincides with the Winter Solstice. For those that aren’t into astrology, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year (and the shortest day). The entire season of winter is about the sun coming out longer and longer. In essence, we are coming out of the dark that fall delivered and slowly making our way towards the warmer months. Ironically, winter is the time when the earth’s northern hemisphere is actually the closest to the sun. I like to think of winter as the sunrise in the morning. Each day that passes in the winter brings the sun higher in the sky for an extended period of light. Within three short months, it will be the Spring Equinox (and the last day of winter), when day and night are equal in time.
The Nature of Winter
As children, we grow up on stories of the bears in the forest that hibernate for the winter, and the birds that fly south for warmer climates. Just like night in the cycle of the average day, winter is a time to rest and recoup our energy. The same could be said for us humans. Although play is certainly always a pleasure (and we will name off just a few ways to do so at the bottom of this blog), winter is important because it is time for reflection and renewal. After the craziness of Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s Eve, Yule, and so much more, things tend to get very quiet for many people. For those of us in the New England territories (and many other places), the snow falls and makes it tougher for most to get around. Hence, we are more apt to stay inside and binge watch our favorite shows, or stare out at the white expanse and count the days until spring.
Looking into the Mirror
When I was younger, my friend and I were relaxing by a lake near her house. It was a quiet summer’s night and I remembered talking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. After much thought, she urged me to kneel at the water’s edge and look over into it. When all I saw was myself, she smiled and told me that her grandmother had taught her to close her eyes and think, and then look again. I did and still only saw myself, but when she touched the water, I could swear that my face looked longer and I appeared older and more beautiful before it disappeared. I still wonder sometimes to this day if it did or not, but the point she made afterwards was that I need not look to outside sources to find out who I was, it was in me the whole time. If I wanted to know what I should become, I just needed to pay more attention to myself and listen.
Winter does that for us. It is the mirror we seek at night when we are lost. It is the reflection that stares back at us and the perfect time to look inside and see what we want – and need – within our lives to fill the voids that have been created. For some people, this is a frightening thing. Most of us use the summer activities of barbecues and family events, beaches and parties to distract us from our moments of self-doubt, sadness, and self-discovery. Winter is quiet and reminds us what is there – and what is not. Now this is not true for everybody, but many share in the symptoms when all becomes quiet and they can only hear themselves. The question is: are you ready to listen?
Grasp the Mirror
I love the winter because it is my time to curl up and relax in the late of night. I use it to catch up on things, re-arrange my house, and take the time to learn new things. Every year, I push through the craziness of the holidays and long for the silence that follows so that I can prepare for the year. I invite you to do the same. Below are some things I find fun to do amid the colder season, and some things that can be done to look in the mirror and see your reflection. I would love it if you would like to share some of your own activities or the ones that you have tried and loved. ^_^
Things to do in Winter (After the BIG Holidays)
-Spring clean the house (I like to do this in the winter so that I can work on the outside in the spring)
-Work on new interior decorating ideas and house projects
-Make a dream/vision board about what you want in your future
-Write a book (the winter is when I do my best writing)
-Sled/ski/snow ball fights/do you want to build a snowman? (sorry, I couldn’t help it)
-Visit family and rekindle relationships
-Cleaning, organizing, and purging the dreaded closet (also, matching new outfits together and having a fun new spin on outfits that needed a new perk)
-Genealogy and interviews for genealogy with family (what better way to spend the afternoon then listening to wonderful family tales from grandma and writing it down for future generations)
-Hot cocoa and fires (in the fireplace naturally)
-Mini trip to a lodge or cabin in the woods
-Family game nights
-Have a post-holiday gathering at your house (wine party, valentines/unvalentines party, book club, Super Bowl party, Girls’ group, home spa day, etc.)
-Start researching a topic that you’ve always been interested in and read a book that covers it in some detail. It doesn’t even have to be something related to your job. It could be something that you’ve just been curious about. My newest curiosity is about how shoes are made.
-Make some goals that you would like to achieve this year
-Write things that you are grateful for
-Start a bullet journal (check out Pinterest if you are interest as there are tons of pins and boards just for this topic) I definitely recommend first making and filling out the bullet journal page called “ten to life” so that you can see the difference as you continue to journal
-Start a journal of any type (adventure journal, emotion journal, creative journal, cooking journal, learning journal, sleep journal, dream journal, etc.)
-and so much more…
"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius."
"The color of springtime is in the flower,
the color of winter is in the imagination."
-Ward Elliot Hour