I came across some pictures I took this past summer today. I looked at them, remembering that I wore shorts and sandals that day, or bought bread from the outdoor famers' market and ate ice cream with my visiting nephew, Will. We turned up the air conditioner and listed to Norah Jones singing as we drove to funky thrift stores.
I grew up with long, cold winters, but as a child I didn't feel terribly inconvenienced if I got to go sledding or ice-skating until it got dark or my fingers fell off. When you grow up and forgo the pleasures of sledding and ice-skating, it's a little tougher to meet winter on its own terms. But I've found that winter has its own fragile beauty. It's true, you can't just rush out the door wearing only the shirt on your back, you have to put on all these extra layers. But the things you can see; last year's nature hanging on by a thread, the rich colors and textures of decay encrusted in snow, and stacks of dry, heavy wood ready for a fire. Winter is not the carnival of color and sound that Summer is. She asks that you slow your pace, listen and observe. And you will be glad you did.