It seems that winter is our least popular season. Even though we do not have a lot of truly cold weather in this part of the world, it is usually cold enough in winter to limit many favorite outdoor activities. The daylight hours are much shorter, and the leaves are off the trees making them look dead. Most grasses and plants are either dormant or dead this time of year, making the predominant color in the landscape brown. Many people, me among them, tend to get the winter blues this time of year. Some people are affected by the lack of sunlight while some cannot help thinking about loved ones who have passed.
Since I have a natural tendency to be a winter blues person, I have tried to make a conscious effort to see winter differently and, therefore, fight off the seemingly inevitable blues. One of my favorite quotes is by Dolly Parton: "Bloom where you’re planted." That includes blooming in whatever circumstance you find yourself in, even the dead of winter.
Winter light is so different, so much more bright in some ways than summer light. To my eyes, it tends more toward shades of blue, although there are some beautiful rose-colored sunrises and peach-colored sunsets this time of year. I have been out walking a few times lately, trying to capture that light and that color in photographs. The fog and clouds this time of year add their own beauty to the landscape. The moisture clings to everything, making some things look as if they have been decorated with crystals and enriching many of the colors. I know everything is brown and gray this time of year, but if you really look, there are so many shades of browns and golds, darker greens, and grays. The colors are not as splashy as spring and summer, but they do have their own kind of quiet beauty.
If you draw or paint, winter provides excellent subject matter. With trees and plants stripped naked, their contours are much more visually interesting. Birds are more visible, partly because they have fewer places to hide, and partly because food isn’t as readily available. There are two pairs of bluebirds living near my house who add color to the gray chickadees and brown sparrows who patronize the snack bar on my porch. On the rare occasion that we have snow or ice, the landscape becomes even more starkly beautiful with structures and nature against a background of white. I have been told that drawing is a great brain exercise, even if your drawing talents are lacking. It trains your eyes and your brain to see differently, more realistically, more clearly. It is another one of the items on my "habits I want to form" list.
I heard someone say that winter is a contemplative time. That could be one reason people get bluesy. Thinking a lot can sometimes be depressing— especially if you find yourself facing things that you have been doing a great job of denying during the rest of the year! I have decided to take advantage of it and contemplate intentionally. In other words, I try not to let my mind run off down unproductive or destructive paths. It has done remarkable things for my outlook, although trying to keep your contemplation in line can be a lot like herding cats. Much of my contemplating has a constant undercurrent of thanking God for the blessings He has sent my way. I have found that the more I count my blessings, the more I realize how richly blessed I am. That has turned out to be the best cure for winter blues. Try it and see if it works for you. firstname.lastname@example.org