the subtle whisper of winter

winter explorationWinter captures my imagination.  

The other seasons shout, proudly proclaiming their beauty in vibrant colors. Spring flowers, summer greens, and autumn leaves march in front of us, flaunting their magnificence and daring us to look away.


cattailWinter is different. Its subtle hues whisper that there is beauty to be found, but only if we have the courage to look and the eyes to see.


Some days, I don’t. I just can’t find the strength to wrestle kids into snow gear, or myself into the right spirits. Instead, I cozy up in my sweats, staring longingly at the sapphire sky and dazzling sun through the window.


But then there are days when I do go out. When I layer and cover and prepare and venture out for a walk in the cold.


The winter air is uniquely still. With nothing to hear, my ears settle down and give their energy to my eyes. I see the restrained magnificence of the layers of nature.


winter grasses & treesI tilt my head to see the tree branches that in other seasons remain hidden by blankets of greens or yellows. In this harshest season, they show off their angles and strength and connectedness. They hint at the life pulsing within them, ready to burst into color once more when the temperatures begin to warm and the time is right.


The leaves come and go with the seasons. But the branches remain.


I crunch across the thick ice of the lake and think of the life that is hiding beneath it. Temporary shelters are parked where only boats can linger in the summer. Their tenants bundled up with the hope they will catch one of the swimmers moving below.


iceBeneath the layers of frozenness, there is life. It is hidden deep, but it is there, available for those who have the audacity to cut a hole, shiver through the bitterness, and wait.


But no matter where I look, at trees or ice houses or the tall marsh grasses, I see one thing: snow. And it is the snow that whispers to me loudest of all.


snowSnow. Good, fresh, pure snow, has an unmatched brilliance. An intensity of white that comes not from itself, but from the way it reflects the light of the sun.


In other seasons, the sun’s rays are absorbed, and used to bring out the loveliness of the plant.


In winter, it is the sun’s rays that hold center stage, as they bounce off the snow and cover the ground in a blinding sparkle of diamond light.


It is easy to miss all this. Winter is uncomfortable. It takes effort and searching and bearing through the cold. We may be deceived into thinking we should just hunker down under blankets until the spring arrives.


But if we make the effort to explore it, we may see an unexpected allure in the frozen landscape.



I have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis to my son. His beautiful allegories have made me wonder whether I sometimes over explain my metaphors and over conclude the meaning of my imagery. So, I thought I would try something different today, and let the picture stand alone. Maybe you can tell me, then, in the comments. How does this picture of winter reflect meaning to you? Where do you see yourself? God? Faith?