Winter in All its Beauty

he swish of skis cutting their first tracks of the season. A tumble of dogs playing in new fallen snow. A picture postcard of branches and pond in the back field. Winter in all its beauty.

“Sing a song of seasons, something good in all.” Last night the snow arrived transforming the farm into a winter playground. The dogs could hardly contain themselves. They were out to play in the falling snow several times last night and first thing this morning. Together the dogs and their dad skied back for the first time this winter. Even the horses had to run out into the field for an early morning roll in the snow. Time for breaking out the skates and skis, the toques and toboggans. Where summers can be so hot that all you can do is to lie in the shade hoping for a breeze, winter says, “come out and play with me.”

Winter has a lot more than just play to offer. Under that blanket of snow nature sleeps after a busy year, its white coat reminding us how effectively the earth can restore life. Cold cheeks and snowflakes on the tongue followed by steaming hot chocolate and a toasty warm fire restore the soul. The silence of the forest in winter allows us the much needed respite from the rush of everyday life. But you want to dress the part if you plan to have fun with this playmate.

Just as summer demands its loose fitting clothes and sunscreen, so winter demands its warm dry clothing. Dogs and horses have it all over us. They just grow long shaggy coats to keep them warm. We have to put extra thought into dressing in layers that will keep us warm and dry. But hey, it’s worth the effort when you are making snow angels just as you did when you were young. The bones may creak a bit getting down and back up, but the fun is undiminished by time. Then comes skating on ponds, check the ice first, playing fox and rabbit with your children and making snow sculptures, every sculpture all the more precious because it will soon melt away.

And then there’s Christmas. One benefit of the heightened border security of the last few years is that it has made travel, particularly through airports, so unpleasant that people have rediscovered Christmas in Canada. This is a time of eggnog, Christmas carols, gingerbread houses, family and feast, a time of thinking about gifts to give to loved ones, a time for parties. Perhaps even a time to ask what we can do to help bring hope into the lives of those less fortunate. That’s the message of the season.

Hope for another season lies sleeping under the snow. We flatter ourselves if we think that all the war machinery in the world can provide the kind of hope that winter offers free of charge. Under the snow the buds, the bulbs, the roots, the sleeping animals all wait for the lengthening of days that will herald the return of spring. Before the snow melts, however, the sap will already be flowing, awakening the trees to new life, new growth. For now they sleep, no plans, no schemes to devise, simply being and placing their trust in the earth as it turns one season into another. See you next time.

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