Mika Jolie

Winter is here!

In the midst of winter, I found, within me, that there was an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

Winter has arrived. If you live in the Northeast like I do, this means snow can arrive at any moment, it’s dark before the kids even get off the bus from school, and boots are less stylish and more functional. I grumble about the heating bill, about the number of loads of laundry I have to do from all the extra snow gear added daily, and from the slushy, muddy footprints that are inevitably tracked across the kitchen floor as kids come in from outside. But what if instead of focusing on all of these annoying side effects to winter, we had to focus on the positives. What wonders does winter hold?

The smell. Fall is my favorite season. The colors are bright and beautiful. The weather is that wonderful in between temperature. And the kids can still play outside after school until dinner time. But there is no denying that winter comes with its own scent. That crisp, clean cold that wakes you up, even while making you shiver. It’s kind of invigorating actually! The house is filled with the smells of soup simmering on a stovetop, pine needles from the tree, pies baking, candles burning and wood smoke.

The taste. Summer brings fresh fruit and barbecues. Fall holds all things pumpkin. But winter. Oh, winter. The time where we can unapologetically gorge ourselves on comfort food. Crockpots bubble away all day, and baking things in the oven doesn’t make the kitchen unbearably hot. Something about eating soup in winter almost evokes a nostalgia- memories of childhood days when tomato soup and grilled cheese were a warm lunch stop in a day filled with sledding and snow angels. And the warm drinks? Hot toddies, spiked hot chocolate, coffee with a little tipple? Nothing is better on a cold afternoon than a warm mug of tea you can wrap your hands around.

The feel. Soft winter sweaters. Your coziest fleece pajama pants. Fuzzy slippers and wooly mittens. My latest fave- blanket scarves. Cold snowflakes melting on your tongue. That blast of cold air when you first step outside. Tingling extremities and then the warmth of a blazing fire. How awesome it is to pack snow back and forth in your hands until you create that perfectly round snowball.

The sight.Fall colors are spectacular for sure, but there is nothing that can compare to how the world looks in those first hours after a new snowfall. The blanket of white just makes everything seem so tranquil and at peace. One of my favorite memories is of my children, walking as toddlers in those bulky snowsuits, clumsily attempting to navigate piles of snow taller than them. Icicles dangling from rooftops make things prettier, and a coat of frost hides a multitude of sins when it comes to home and yard improvement. Towns lit up with lights and decorations and holiday parades foster a sense of community and togetherness. And a winter day’s first light over the horizon highlights the remnants of last night’s freeze while somehow making everything seem new.

The sound. Carols ring out and bells peal. Packed snow crunches under your feet as you walk. Winter is full of these crisp, loud sounds. The hiss of skis as they glide down a mountain of freshly packed powder. The smack of a snowball hitting its target. Screeches of laughter as kids sled at top speed down their favorite hill, or challenge each other to an epic for building contest. And the crackle and roar of a fire as you reflect on another winter day gone by.

There are winter days when it will feel never-ending, and gray and dull. And we will long for the summer heat, or even a little spring rain. But if think about it, winter can also be a feast for the senses. You just have to put on a few extra layers to enjoy it!

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