After three years back in the Northeast US, I’m basking in the change of seasons. Spring is so hopeful and romantic, brimming with life and new beginnings. Then there’s Summer – what’s not to love (so says a Pacific Islander)? And Autumn, charming you senseless with its burnt shades of color and kicking off the onslaught of festivities worldwide.
Winter? It took living the past seventeen years in the tropics, without the seasons, to come around to winter’s magic. This year I am all about the dark bleak days of winter and embracing the chill. It’s well into January now, and so far it’s a mild one. But we’re looking at double-header snow systems this coming holiday weekend and I’m crossing my fingers!
Minus winter sports (which I’m not so into, having spent my formative years under hot tropical suns), here are my favorite things about winter:
- Fewer mosquitos!
- Back-to-back holidays! Halloween/All Souls, Diwali, Christmas, New Year’s, Twelfth Night, Mardi Gras!
- Skies that are insanely clear and full of stars, sunrises are brilliant and you get way more dramatic cloud formations! See the science of amazing winter skies in this link.
- The first snowfall of the season
- Snow-blanketed streams and trees covered in snow
- The snow-dampened quietness of the world
- The way sunlight refracts off snow-covered lawns and landscapes
- The smell of cold, crisp air early in the morning
- Walking on empty trails
- The crunch of snow under your boots
- The smell of pine
- Snowball fights
- Firepits! Bonfires! With a mug of spicy hot chocolate!
- Blizzards and snow days
- Building snow forts for a snowball fight!
- Driving stick through a nighttime snowfall
- The sadistic satisfaction of seeing people slip ‘n slide :-)
- Ice sculptures
- Minimal crowds in the outdoors
- Thick socks, tights, leggings
- Heavy blankets
- No humidity, a.k.a., good hair days :-)
- Boxing out grandmas and kids for a better gawk at festive over-the-top Christmas lights and displays lol
- Firing up those old wood stoves
- Lighting up candles
- The glow from the Christmas tree, candles and string lights inside a dark room, or through residential windows
- All manner of spiked food and drink – egg nog, coquito, hot toddies, mulled wine, hot apple cider, champagne on New Year’s!
- Foods you don’t see until the holidays, like panettone, vanillekipferl (German vanilla crescent cookies), or even ludefisk!
- Rich heavy foods taste so much better when you’re coming in from the cold – hearty stews, roast meat, pies with whipped cream, Mac ‘n Cheese, sour cream on chili, hot soups.
- Making snow angels on the fluffy snow on top of ice-covered creeks
- Snow- and ice-scapes
- Snow-covered trails
- Maple syrup harvest season
And lastly, I love my winter pre-dawn runs, when everyone else retreats to indoor gyms or stays in bed altogether :-)
I’m sure more things belong on this list, and I’ll keep adding as I recall them!