Winter doesn't lack for beauty, it is there. Often I forget to see it while I am struggling to keep upright in the mudbath that my backyard becomes. In Winter all of Spring's frills and finery and Summer's rich bounty are stripped away and nature's bones laid bare. Things normally hidden from view are exposed. Vistas open up and give new perspective. Scents seem crisper, sharper. Without the heady perfumes of flowers and warm earth the air seems more elemental.
After Solstice is over and the new year just beginning I often feel hollow and raw. This is when, in times passed, hunger and illness would cull the weakest from the herds-animal and human. It seems to be a very harsh, unforgiving time and yet, there is the faintest signs of softer days to come. Lengthening daylight, minute by minute. Swellings on the nodes of trees, a sign of buds, flowers and fruit in the offing.
While re-reading this I thought of my childhood on my family's farm. I had chores that had to be done regardless of the weather. Usually the weather often caused more work. One of my least favorites was to break the ice on the water troughs for the cows. I hated that. My fingers would be red and stinging from the cold by the time my Dad or Grandfather and I would get inside. When we finally got immersion coils that kept the water from freezing it was a very happy day.
In the summer, I had to help out in the hay fields. I had to straighten the rows of hay bales so they could be loaded up on the hay trucks. As I got older I got to drive the trucks. Once back at the farm I got to help load the bales onto the hay elevators. I was very aware of the seasons as a kid. How could I not be? I was outside every day. The seasons dictated what needed to be done. Now, seasons are for the most part "optional." I work inside, I live in town, I drive to work. If I choose I can walk to the store or take walks but often I am too tired, lazy or busy.
One of my goals is to get back into the habit of walking daily, not just for the exercise but for connecting with the outdoors.