Winter makes me sad. Perhaps it is the gray or the cold, but my smile seems to disappear with the last dying sighs of fall. For me, winter means weeks spent indoors peering through dirty windows, longing for budding flowers and nesting birds. In winter, the vivid colors of spring, summer, and fall fade to sterile pastures laced with pale blues, grays and muted white.
Yet, after days of bitter cold and treacherous weather, we had a bit of a weekend reprieve in our great state of Ohio. A mid-winter thaw brought the temperatures up to the mid-fifties, a safer bet for hiking with aging knees and hips. Hubby and I braved the remaining remnants of snow for a day-trip to Dawes Arboretum, cameras in hand. I hadn’t expected much, but at least had hoped for enough white blanket for a few picturesque shots. For the most part, my shakey optimism was met by slush and muddy shoe prints.
Hiking proved to be difficult as we tread slowly on uneven and slippery pavement, rock and grass. By sunset, we had reached the lake, completely snow covered, barren and seemingly lifeless. A common winter scene for a picture, I thought – except for the sun that seemed to rest so perfectly on the side of the tree with light so bright as to appear to have taken a bite from the tree’s sturdy trunk before gradually descending into the night. John saw it while I lamented the ordinary and I captured this bit of sunshine with the press of one button.
The beauty of sunshine glistening on blankets of snow, fragments of ice or a small lakeside tree is winter’s gift and the fact that I had not expected it made the gift all the more special. Unlike other seasons when sun and warmth are more common, the stark contrast of winter highlights gifts that are too easy to take for granted. That should keep me smiling for a long time to come.