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The Beauty of Nature - In Photographs and Thoughts - Winter
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." ~ Anne Bradstreet
Snow on Bamboo
Facts About Winter
- The December solstice is also known as the "summer solstice" in the southern hemisphere. It is the winter solstice only in the northern hemisphere.
- In Winter, days are shortest and the nights are longest.
- No two snow flakes are alike but all snowflakes have 6 sides.
- Antarctica set the record for the worlds coldest temperature at -129(degrees Fahrenheit).
- Ice is a considered a mineral.
- Winter Blues or Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year.
- Chionophobia is the fear of snow.
Those of us living in the Northeast are very familiar with winter. While it does make the spring more pleasant, it still has a beauty of its own. As the snow blankets everything in sight turning it into pure white you can't help but be impressed by its beauty. Many of us however, are not so impressed by its cold. The winter of 2013-2014 has been a long hard winter, cold and lots of snow so at times it is difficult to think of it as beautiful.
Normally, winter temperatures in New York State vary by region from thirty-six in New York City to twenty-eight in Watertown. Of course no winter really follows the average. This winter has been one of the coldest on record. While we think it is the coldest actually 1985 was the coldest since 1917. In the Great Lakes Region temperatures this year were in the negative twenties according to CNN. So you may have a hard time convincing me and a lot of others about the average with so many days in the low twenties with wind chill factors below zero. They say we have been blessed with a Polar Vortex. The Polar Vortex is visiting us from the Antarctic and we would all like to see it go home.
So here we have more snow than usual and certainly colder than normal temperatures, but then as people say, "its winter in the northeast, live with it." As we live with it we try to find the beauty in it.
Before the Snows Came - Photos from November, 2012
How do you feel about winter?
Is Winter All Bad?
There are many who will argue winter is the pits, but, on the other hand you will find people who love winter and the winter sports it brings. How many of you had snowball fights as kids? Or built snowmen or made snow angels? See what I mean. Then of course there's skiing, ice skating, sleigh riding, and even ice fishing for the brave at heart. There are many joys to find in the winter and to them the more snow the better.
The first snowfall is the most beautiful and most appreciated.
Enjoying Winter?Click thumbnail to view full-size
“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 the time for home.” ~ Edith Sitwell
Suggestions for Winter Activities
- Build a snow fort
- Build a snowman
- Take a walk in the woods
- Put out suet and birdseed for our feathered friends
- Do a winter scavenger hunt
- Make a winter journal
- Go out at night to see the stars
- Go snowshoeing
- Go tubing
- Look for squirrel nests
- Photograph winter scenes
- Get together with friends and sit around drinking hot cocoa
- Drink plenty of water
- Give yourself a pedicure
- Make paper snowflakes with your kids
- Don't forget your hat and gloves when you go outside
A Time to Reflect
Winter offers us a time to reflect. A time to stop and appreciate not only what we have, but what nature provides us with.
Just think of the warm cozy fireplace and hot soup or hot cocoa to enjoy on a cold day. Remember all the wonderful things you've been given, including your nice warm house. (Also, remember those without a warm house and donate some blankets and coats.) Spend time with family to surround yourself with even more warmth.
Take in the beauty of the snow as it lines each tree branch and sparkles in the sun.
If you like the cold, get those boots on and go for a walk in the quiet of the snow or if you prefer, get a bunch of friends together and have a snowball fight to bring back times of your youth. Of course if there are any hills covered in snow, get out a sleigh and head down! If you live in NYC, or visit in the winter, you can always go ice skating at Rockefeller Center or taken in the winter wonderland shown in various store windows. Speaking of stores, don't forget shopping is a great winter sport. For those of you who are brave beyond my wildest dreams there are also Polar Bear Clubs...imagine the thrill of a bathing suit and that slightly chilly water in the Atlantic. As an aside, the Polar Bears raise money for Camp Sunshine in Maine for ill children. The big dip is only on New Year's Day (to raise money) but you are certainly free to test the waters any time.
The winter snows also replenish the water we so desperately need in the warmer weather. Snow accumulates in winter, and with warming of spring and early summer it melts, producing streamflow.
For some animals the snow is their only source of water in the winter. So much we can think about when we think of winter and winter snow.
There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance. ~ William Sharp
The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread. ~ John Burroughs
Find the Beauty
I hope you find the beauty under the cold. I hope for you, joy and love filled days as you keep warm in the winter months.
Please leave a comment and let me know how you feel about winter.
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