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Winter Appreciation Rant:

by Joyce Johnson

“I am just grateful to being warm inside my home,” said a neighbor lately. Its that simple and a single gratitude thought multiplies and gets all over the place. I reflect and share my thought that the woodburner blazes with occasional soft pops, otherwise all is quiet inside and out, on many levels. Our long deep winters send the trees to slumber, except the evergreens. Nature lately froze the river, except it ever flows singing in base notes over the rocks beneath and….creates a temporary ice jam like recently piled up at Mill Creek. Pristine snow covers the terrain in quiet, purifying blankets of white that glitter like crystal in the sunlight. [until it melts, refreezes and turns roads into skating rinks.] Another pipe-threatening Arctic blow?

We just wear layers of insulation from head to toe. Artists have been fascinated by winter and painted scenes in every imaginable symbol, medium and style, seen over the ages as “Her.”

Enter Mother Humor: But my thought flew to this: more guys are growing biblical beards lately, have you noticed? So commendably non-conforming, a great disguise and I’m guessing it’s warmer? There is something about a beard that adds mystery to a man. It is subtle symbolism, whatever the reason, but adds timeless strength I think; a classic statement. But, we all look alike winter-padded head to toe, fuzzy-hatted or hooded, and in passing cars we wave at everyone,hello! [real poets just be tolerant]

It was mid January when I started this writing, and many places in the country were hurting from deep cold and blizzard. Temps dipped to minus 20 and colder around here. But the heart of my home, our wood-burning stove, worked hot non stop; it never occurred to me to cook beans on top; faucets were on full time drip because its a risk to not. Restless, I walked inside laps to keep limber, and paused at the end of each lap to study the slow freeze of the creek below. I poked my head outside to hear the near imperceptible music of the softly falling snow. I am grateful to be able to go outside again temps are around 40; I walk with those rubber cleats on my boots and a cottonwood branch cane which I swing with flare like Sherlock.

The Season Manager – Winter and it’s challenges are powerful and scary sometimes, but Nature, if left alone, knows what it’s doing— no matter what we think. “She” is an expert manager of the Seasons, though sometimes chastises, sometimes blows hard, then shines and nurtures. Predictable or not, the hardships make us strong...and since our beginnings, brings out what matters: compassion and caring, courage and unity, the strong heart of community,—more than a sufficient challenge for anyone, on any given day. Pivot to what is good and beautiful, brave and faithful—our hidden nature. Namaste dear reader.


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