In Praise of Winter

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If there’s anything cozier than sitting by the fire with a good book while January’s Full Wolf Moon rises in winter’s purple sky, I haven’t experienced it. Add my loved ones in similar comfy postures, a few blankets, some wine, hot homemade ginger water, or cocoa (do they make cocoa ginger wine?), soft background music, and I’m the definition of content.

It’s easy to dislike the stretch of bland gray days these winter months offer us, but the magical sunrises and sunsets, the slow post-holiday pace, the still-brief daylight, and the feeling of cocooning together make it a season that becomes dearer to me every year. After years of wishing these months would just pass into spring already, I can finally relax into them, understanding that what’s happening in the garden is happening in me as well: life is resting, percolating, and waiting to rise.

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I’ve come to trust the winter months’ mysterious powers to stimulate dreams, generate ideas, and shape connections in my psyche. A lot of new creative projects are brewing and bubbling just beneath consciousness and I’ve learned to let them be; they’ll green and bud when they’re ready. In the meantime, I love the chance to read piles of books, to meditate more and for longer periods, to do little projects in the house, and to indulge in naps that the summer’s activities don’t often allow.

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We’ve had some rough weeks dealing with sudden, painful, and dispiriting setbacks in my healing from knee surgery, but I think we’re back on track again, for which I’m most grateful. After weeks of resting and hobbling behind a walker, I went for my first walk with Phillip today. It was cold and bleak outside, and I loved it. Fresh air, winter sounds, frosty smells, and mobility; I felt tentative and new, released into a strange and brilliant world.

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When you look closely at the world in winter, so much life is revealed in a landscape that at first appears utterly barren. We saw the tracks of rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, foxes, mice, and a deer or two, and heard the hooting owls and jays. Mourning doves huddled at the feeding tray Phillip set out (our very own dove bar), and a variety of birds swooped back and forth between trees and the hanging feeders.

In the same way, although we’re outwardly resting in greater stillness during winter, a closer look reveals some of life’s most profound activities: healing, dreaming, waiting expectantly, and trusting that what demands growth and tending in spring will be met with our winter-fortified readiness.

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Gentle peace to you, and joy in all the creativity brewing in your own winter hibernaculum, and the same wishes to the actively-creative sunbathed days of all my friends in the Southern Hemisphere.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

20 thoughts on “In Praise of Winter

    1. Thank you! Hoping to lengthen the walk each day. Walks are like chocolate for my spirit.

      I appreciate your kindness; be safe and well, and gentle peace to you and your beloveds.

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  1. Dear Kitty, I like your thoughts on winter. I have been chafing at the gray days and early darkness, but I will try to cultivate coziness and percolation of new growth under the surface.
    Hot ginger water! Mmm! How do you make it? Fresh ginger is one of my favorite tastes.

    I’m sorry your knee is not healing quickly. I hope you progress steadily from here on out.

    Thank you. Sarah

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    1. Hi, Sarah, and thank you for your kind wishes. I’m doing better and am more hopeful than a week ago. All signs point to continued healing, and I’m very grateful.

      Ah! Ginger water. We love it, so I always make a big batch. There isn’t a recipe, really, but I’ll tell you the ingredients I use and you can experiment. I like it hot this time of year and over ice in the summer. For a 2.5 inch-3-inch long piece of ginger, I use about 5-6 Cups of water in a stainless steel pan. I slice the unpeeled ginger into thin pieces and add them with 1-2 sliced lemons, about 5 squeezes of organic honey, Ceylon cinnamon, ground cloves, turmeric, and sometimes a sliced orange to the water, stir it, and bring it to a low simmer, then cover for 5-7 minutes, before turning off the heat to let it all steep for 20-30 minutes. (I also usually add about 1/4 to 1/2 C. of frozen blueberries when I steep it, just for flavor and extra health boost.) I use a screened strainer and pour it into containers/pitchers to store in the refrigerator/freezer. I usually buy a bag of about 6 pieces of ginger, so end up with approx. 36 Cups. I’ve frozen it, too, but I love it hot, so I drink it instead of coffee and tea some days. Anyway, let me know if you try it and how it works for you, Sarah. May it make your winter cozier! Take care, and gentle peace.

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    1. You are so welcome. I should say I add a lot of the spices, but the playful aspect of creating the mixture to most please your own taste is part of the fun.

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  2. Really a wonderful place where you live! So many animals and trees…
    Nice to hear that you can having some tracking again to look around those beautiful places!
    Have a nice day

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  3. Thank you so much, Enzo; your kindness is so appreciated. Yes, we are very grateful for our surroundings here, but mindful of the trade-offs the choice to live here with our 4-leggeds has cost us in terms of the urban benefits of culture and society that we also enjoy. Still, I don’t think we regret the choices we’ve made…Love and gentle peace to you. Be safe and well.

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  4. Me, too, with you! Thank you for visiting and for your kindness, Rich. How blessed and mysterious that we have time and space and means to be immersed in our arts during this time in history and in our lives. Keep creating, dear one! You inspire me.

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  5. I was born in Winter (in a snowstorm, even!) and have always, always felt better in every way during this time of year. You are right about inspirations coming with speed and clarity in the cold. Thanks for this post.

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    1. I read your comment having just returned from brilliant and frosty walk on the trail. Born during a snowstorm: there has to be all kinds of winter blessings conferred by such an entry! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and I appreciate your comment. Be safe and well…and ready for all those winter inspirations.

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  6. I’m reading your paean to winter as the snow is drifting down into soft blankets and you inspire me, Kitty. “I’ve come to trust the winter months’ mysterious powers to stimulate dreams, generate ideas, and shape connections in my psyche.” Yes! It is the same for me, a time to read, sleep, dream, turn inward, and find my direction for the seasons to come. I do hope your knee mends quickly and in time for the activities of spring. Enjoy the quiet season, my friend, and many blessings.

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  7. Thank you, Lynn. I hope it’s a nurturing and inspiring time for you as well. Your snowfall sounds so peaceful! Fertile dreamtimes, my friend.

    Thank you so much for your visit; I love your comments.
    Be safe and well. XO

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  8. Your description of winter is just delightful and I love the thought of all those ideas geminating with the help of wine, ginger tea and cocoa. The photos are gorgeous as always, how those little birds must appreciate you. I’m sorry to hear of your suffering but so pleased to hear you are recovering, long may that last. Love and hugs to all.xxxx

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  9. Ah, Snowbird! Thank you. Feeling much better now and managing short hikes on the trail…must be the ginger tea fuel!

    Thank you for you kindness, dear one. Sending love and wishes for your own cozy and peaceful days. XO

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  10. First, Kitty, your photos are just stunning. They alone make winter worth enjoying. I think some of the appreciation of winter comes with age, too – a little more patience, not noticing so much that the sun has set at 4:30, and caring less. But hibernaculum as it may be, it’s been a bitterly cold winter much of the time, too, and on top of the pandemic, has curtailed further wanting to venture out. Part of me loves it, and part of me is ready … well, for the extreme cold to stop! But your words soften it all a bit, put a smile on my face. For that, I thank you. XO

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  11. Good; glad I was able to invite a smile, and thank you for your kind words, Jeanne. Not bitterly cold here till today, so it’s been easier to bundle up and get out than it seems it’s been for you. Hope that changes soon!

    As for Covid, not much we can do but sit it out, and numbers are just beginning to fall here. Too many unvaccinated to venture out just yet, so we remain at the mercy of the selfish and ill-informed for a while longer. Glad I have much to read and write, and the grand company of Phillip and the 4-leggeds. I think we’re all meditating more, too!

    Gentle peace and greater warmth to you!

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  12. Thanks for this kindness, Jeanne. The knee’s about getting the guy appointment getting that is that what they’re talking about getting the judge appointed why would every shenanigans they’ve got the vice president to tilt the vote found some other healing is up and down; hopeful time and my persistent efforts will pay off, eventually! Ever hopeful. 👍

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