This week there likely has been a lot of grumbling about winter. Frigid temperatures, wind and snow combined to make the outdoors miserable. It was winter at its worst.
I am not immune to griping about winter. In fact, over the years I’ve written several columns about how much I despise subzero temperatures, wind and seemingly endless snow shoveling.
But this won’t be one of them. Maybe the holiday season has brightened my outlook or maybe it’s because the winter of 2019 has just begun.
Whatever the reason, I’m actually feeling pretty friendly to the season, despite this week’s brutal cold.
The location that sparked the idea to write about winter’s virtues was, of all things, our wet basement. For the past two months, I’ve been wearing knee-high rubber boots to wash clothes. Since early October, our basement has had a couple of inches of water on the floor, despite two sump pumps running every few seconds. Brian, my husband, tried to vacuum the water a couple of weeks ago, but it reappeared on the floor as fast as it disappeared into the hose.
Last weekend, when I ventured into the deep, dark depths with a basket of laundry, I noticed that there were a few dry spots on the floor, and there was even a tiny island by the washer where I could set the clothes basket. Meanwhile, I noticed my footsteps didn’t make waves in the parts of the basement that still were wet, which meant that the water depth had dropped.
I credit the reduction in the water level to the ground freezing, and I am grateful to winter for that. I don’t mind doing laundry, but putting on rubber boots and sloshing through water every time I wash and dry a load is pretty unpleasant.
While that’s a practical reason to celebrate winter’s return, aesthetics is another. The beauty of the sun shining on a white-covered landscape cannot be denied. Nor can the sight of crystal snowflakes dancing in the light reflected from the barn on a dark winter morning.
And though I’ve seen it dozens of times before, the frost-covered whiskers of Cody and Isabelle snorting in the icy cold air still brings a smile to my face. So does the sight of the two frisky horses playfully bucking and rearing while sending clouds of steam and snow into the air.
But perhaps the biggest reason, I am thankful for winter is that it forces me to enjoy life at a slower pace. With no lawns to mow, gardens to weed or painting buildings to be done, I can relax, read or go to a movie on winter evenings and weekends. Meanwhile, the short days invite me to grab a blanket and take a nap with a kitty or two sleeping on my lap before I get up enough gumption to go to bed.
On the flip side, going out in the cold and wind to feed and water the horses and chickens or take the dogs for a walk gives me a sense of accomplishment that’s beyond compare with doing the same chores on a lovely spring, summer or fall day.
Before the winter is over -- OK, I’ll be honest before it officially begins -- I’ll likely be joining the chorus of laments about winter. But for now, I’ll sing its praises.