Most of us, if not all of us despise winter. I like winter… okay okay, once upon a time I liked winter. Not so much anymore. Over the years, I have grown to dislike the winter months. I blame my job, which is greatly effected by the winter weather. Join me on my journey as I discover new ways to embrace the winter season.
Embracing winter is about finding peace and tranquility within the months ahead. After the first snow of the season I use to sit and enjoy how quiet the snow made everything. The goal is to find that again and I was inspired by a podcast I listened to (more on that later). We begin first, by revisiting a poem I wrote a long time ago.
Before you read it look at this picture, take a deep breath, calm your mind from our daily distractions and when you’re ready continue reading.
A Winter’s Eve
Have you ever noticed the smell of a winter’s eve?
A glimmer in a child’s eye when they see their first snow
Or the way the firelight dances across the room
Keeping everyone warm from old man winter
The light glistens off the snow as the sun peeks over the horizon
Icicles adorn the snow-capped houses
Snow covers the ground like a blanket
Only to greet us in the morning with a frosty kiss
As the smoke billows out and dances across the sky the fire below keeps us warm
And when the sun falls we are nestled in our blankets with hot chocolate in hand
Trying to escape the old man and his bitter cold breath
With those we care about close by, and the warmth we share
This is my winter’s eve
The podcast episode titled Befriending Winter from the Art of Manliness is what inspired me to write this post. I have been wanting to write on my blog again for the better part of two years. It is a lingering thought that is always in the background noise of my mind.
Back to the inspiration…
Nature Draws Inward
Winter is a time of rest and reflection. The key to this is making your interior space comfy and cozy. I want to walk in the door and feel like I am being hugged by a big warm blanket. This is where the idea of Hygge comes into play. Hygee is a Danish concept and is the art of getting cozy. During winter, nature draws inward. Bears hibernate and many other animals withdraw. Similar to nature we should also draw inward and reflect on the past year and the year ahead. Winter forces you to slow down. It is a perfect time to read a book, especially in comfy slippers and via candlelight.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Winter is the perfect time to get outdoors. Learn some survival skills. Build a fire after a fresh snow. Learn to track some animals. Fresh prints in the snow are a perfect time to learn this skill. If you really want to embrace winter, build a shelter and sleep outside for a night. A debris shelter or a Quinzhee snow shelter are two options for an outside slumber during the winter.
Another skill to learn, is foraging. Even though a lot of plants draw themselves inward there are still plants we can forage during the winter months. Pine needles are a great option and they make a delicious tea! Never consume anything you pick unless you absolutely know that it is safe to do so.
Find and claim a few sit spots. Sit spots are places you find in nature that you always revisit. Having the same sit spot is key for recognizing different patterns in nature, especially through the seasons.
This year I am going to mark the winter solstice with a fire. One thing I want to do with my family, is write all the regrets from the past year and then toss them into the fire. Next, we would set some goals for the following year.
Explore the Great Indoors
Embracing winter is not all about being outdoors. Being outside is great and all, but there comes a time when you head back indoors. Hopefully someone greets you with a warm kiss and hot chocolate. Fire is not only a way to warm up but it also creates a cozy environment. Dim the lights and do everything by candle light a few night’s a month. Playing board games, chess and reading are a few activities that come to mind. Use scents to create an inviting atmosphere. I like essential oils and a diffuser. Scented candles are also an option.
Want to explore more about some of the things mentioned above? Below are links to get your hygee on and other ideas to embrace this winter.
- Befriending Winter
- How to Have a Hyggely Christmas and a More Memorable New Year
- 8 Things That Can Help You Get More Hygge This Winter
- Tom Brown’s Science and Art of Tracking: Nature’s Path to Spiritual Discovery – I watched the movie, The Hunted and there is a scene where one of the main characters is teaching a kid about tracking a bunny in the snow. I did more research and discovered that Tom Brown was the guy they hired to teach the actors about survival and tracking. I was hooked and bought some of his books.
- How to Track Animals — A Primer on Identifying Footprints
- How to Make Pine Needle Tea
I hope this inspires you to enjoy winter slightly more than the year before!
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.Edith Sitwell
Winter forms our character and brings out our best.Tom Allen