Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ode to winter

I used to see winter as a depressing time. Winters in Ohio are particularly depressing. All the rain and gray days are enough to deplete anyone's serotonin levels. In '97, when I moved to Wyoming, I had to change my perspective about winter.

Winter is a way of life in many parts of the world, including Wyoming. That first winter, I'll never forget. I'd never seen so much snow. I learned how to put chains on the tires of my truck in order to clear the mountain pass over to Jackson. I learned to depend on the faithfulness of good friends and good boots. I learned what an engine block heater was. I learned to cross country ski. I learned what it felt like to fall into snow literally up to my hips. I learned that once the temperature goes into the negative numbers, there's not much difference between -1 and -20 degrees. It's all just damned cold.

I learned patience as I watched days and nights go by in endless snow for two and a half months. I learned wonder when the sun finally emerged over the Teton mountain range and it glistened and sparkled a million points of light in each crystaline snowflake. I learned to appreciate the beauty that comes from seeing forests highlighted with white along boughs and branches and riverbanks.

Winter is not a reprieve. It is a time to celebrate solitude; it is a silent time we need for reflection and rebirth. These are my intentions for this winter. It is the silence and starkness of winter that helps us appreciate the colors of spring.

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