Winter Beauty

DSCN1566DSCN1614DSCN1616DSCN1618As is the case for just about everyone in our country, we’ve been stuck inside due to extremely frigid weather. The two most recent snowfalls refused for over a week now to go anywhere, except to drift from one place to another with each biting gust of wind.

Temperatures in the single digits are uncommon for my part of the Midwest. I can remember only three other times in my life where it was too cold to brave the elements even for a trip to the grocery store for bread and milk. Thankfully, I loaded up on the basics before the sudden drop from the low fifties to a wind-chill of minus fifteen. We have stuck our noses outside the door long enough only to once daily make sure our cars would start. Of course my car refused to start on one of the coldest days, prompting a call to AAA and a run to the dealership for a new battery.

Hearing many complaints about the weather, and voicing quite a few myself, I began to realize that Winter presents opportunities we don’t realize during the other seasons. Afternoon naps that come upon us slowly, hot cocoa in the afternoon while gazing out the frosty windows at the busy bird feeders, reading a Miss Marple mystery, crocheting a scarf. It dawned on me that crazy cold weather, as inconvenient as it can be, just might be a hint from God that we need to slow down for awhile.

Yesterday finally warmed up enough to coax my husband outside, and we decided to head over to a lake just around the corner from our neighborhood. I gasped at the  beauty of the frozen lake, surrounded by a forest of gray trees and brush in hues of browns, reds, and golds. Have you noticed how beautiful the woodlands become when the trees and underbrush are bare? One is more able to see the white trunks of sycamores, the golden dormant grasses, the dark purples of wild berries. Even the Fall colors in this same area didn’t match up to the glory we experienced yesterday.

The blanket of fine snow covering the lake revealed the footprints of animal life who had bravely made their way to the center where gradual thawing was taking place. We were surprised when a lone Great Blue Herron swooped over us and chose a spot right on the frozen edge, most likely to wait for supper to swim unknowingly under his stealthy gaze. Geese prints and marks in the snow from the swish of their wings upon landing were scattered along the lake’s edge. Other small animals left their mark around the stones and fallen trees, disappearing into the brush that no doubt provides safety from predators.

We spent some time taking photos, walking along the shoreline and around the docks until we could no longer take the cold (I could have stayed out a bit longer but somebody was in a hurry to get to the car).

I’m glad we made the effort to witness some Winter splendor, I would have hated to miss it.

 

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