IMG_9285From brown grass and muddy trails to white fields and snowy treks: there was no in-between. Old Man Winter arrived yesterday without bothering to knock. He just walked right on in and came to sit for a spell. And I am remembering the joys of the season.

Quiet. A hush comes over the land, a stillness that turns the song of the stream to a full blown chorus. In the woods, with flakes sifting through branches, the loudest sound is often the blood flowing through my own body. All things slow, pull inward. It feels like peace… until a blizzard rushes in, and it’s time to hunker down indoors. Sitting warm by the fire with wind and wild whipping outside brings a closer kind of peace.

Stories. Tracks. This morning, a mountain lion walked across the nearby hill. An ermine hunted in the back pasture. Elk traversed the slope across the way. The snow recorded their journeys, holding them for me to read later in the day. Sometimes it seems there is more life in winter than summer, but then I smile to think how many creatures pass unknown during the days without snow on the ground.

IMG_9284Awareness. The turning of the seasons pulls me into the natural rhythm of the earth, heightens my awareness of the larger universe. The sun takes on significance in its short daily visit, while the moon gains a greater presence, creating nights so bright they rival day, as the snowscape gathers lunar rays and scatters them about. The cold means taking more care about daily life, to avoid disasters small (frozen pipes) or large (freezing in the backcountry), for in this season, Old Man Winter might not bother to announce when he is going to knock you down – a reminder of where we stand in this big beautiful universe.

Autumn might come back for a visit, but winter seems here to stay, bringing with it all of the beauty and wonder of the season.  

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