by Jordan Byrnes
Winter has arrived in Kentucky. The winter solstice is December 21st, but for me winter begins when the thermometer drops below 32◦, the last leaves fall, and sunset is around 5:00pm. The lack of sunlight, fresh air, and time outdoors can be disheartening.
Winter can be inhospitable, but I see silver linings. Every season is full of gifts and opportunities. Some of these are easy to identify and understand. The new beginnings of spring, the sunny summer moments of carefree living, the bountiful and colorful autumn harvest.
Others are not so easy. The violent storms that come when seasons change, the brutal heat of summer, or the bitter cold of winter. These require us to look beyond appearances to see deeper meaning.
When I look deeply at winter I see that the cold, which bring us indoors, brings us together. Sometimes we sit around a bright warm fire with loved ones. I see that mugs of coffee, cider, tea, or hot chocolate taste better when it is cold. I see magical beauty watching snowflakes fall. They decorate the landscape into a winter wonderland. I see a blanket of snow on the ground signaling a slow day of recreation and relaxation with loved ones, rolling snow up into balls to make a snowman, or pelting your friends during a snowball fight. I see the joy of gliding on sleds, ice skates, skis, and snowboards. I see colorful trees and flowers replaced with lights and decorations. I see comfy sweaters, warm socks, mittens, and blankets. I see people sharing presents and their presence. I see people being grateful for what they have. I see people giving by donating and volunteering.
I see an ending and a new beginning, for nature and for us. This winter try to be open and accepting to new beginnings, look on the bright side, and slow down to appreciate each and every moment!