As the sun slowly returns, let’s focus on the beauty of winter around us

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A week ago, six months after the sun began leaving us minute by minute, day by day, it started coming back.

The changes won’t be obvious at first — we gain just 8 minutes of light between Dec. 21 and Dec. 29. But each of those minutes means the longer days of summer are just that much closer.

We could spend the next four, five or even six months moaning about the lack of warmth and sunshine, the deep snow we have to shovel, the frozen windshields we have to scrape and the slippery roads we have to navigate.

We can dwell on that winter, or we can embrace the winter that is here.

We can notice the glitter of snow as a setting sun casts long rays over its surface.

Winter Photo Essay

Animal tracks cross a blanket of fresh snow.

We can stop to look at tiny tracks filling bigger tracks in the unending drama played out by wildlife in their snowy world. What we see on the surface is only a fraction of the life scurrying underneath as shrews curl in their nests, squirrels seek out their caches and hawks and owls wait in trees for the moment a furry head pops up to look around.

Winter Photo Essay

A ski trail in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.

We can pack up our sleds, skis or snowboards and find a new hill or reconnect with that one from our childhoods.

Winter Photo Essay

A warmly-dressed angler fishes on the North Platte River.

We can stop to admire the way frost envelops each branch and twig in perfect stillness.

Winter Photo Essay

A layer of ice and snow covers a tree.

And then we can come back home for our own version of hygge, the Danish word meaning, “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”

Winter Photo Essay

The sun hangs low in the sky on one of the increasing short days leading up to the winter solstice.

Because even as winter tightens its grasp on the region, the days are getting longer, and admiring the frost, the building snow and the quiet landscape is so much nicer than hibernating until spring.

We can dwell on the discomforts of years past, or we can embrace the winter that is here.

Winter Photo Essay

A cross-country skier moves along a trail in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.


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