A Winter Walk

Ah, Winter, you often maligned
sometimes scowled at beauty of a season.

I get it. If people are only shoveling
or driving upon slippery roads,
some of your shine can wear off pretty quickly.

Dear reader,
if you are someone lacking either the gear or the gumption
to go outside in subzero temps,
allow me to elaborate just a little…

For starters, there is a hush in winter.
Sounds are muted and softened, absorbed by the blanket of snow.
The migrating birds have long since skipped town
the hibernators have settled into their dens
or worked their way into mud,
and the year-round residents, likewise, are quieter this time of year.

What remains is a place and a chance to hear yourself breathe.

When you walk on snow covered trails,
the sounds of your footsteps change with the temperature.
Above zero, it is a soft resonant cadence.
Colder temps make snow sing and zing as you walk.
It’s a high-pitched crunching squeaking sound
that comes with every step,
hinting of adventure and daring.

When you cover your mouth and nose to stay warm
the moisture from your breath decorates your eyelashes and hair,
framing your face in beautiful frost crystals.

An added bonus? Most people stay holed up inside their homes,
so the walks that you take in the summer in a crowded park
transform into your own private winter paradise.

What remains is a place and a chance to hear yourself breathe.

Sunrises and lingering twilight
invite you to step into their soft radiance—
purples, oranges, pinks, and reds fill the sky,
as if the air itself is glowing.
As if you could breathe and taste the colors.

Bare branches, silhouetted in the glow,
reveal intricate shapes
that are otherwise hidden by summer foliage.

Oh, that exquisite light, especially in the evening
when even a sliver of moon reflects off the snow
highlighting the trail just enough,
enticing you to ditch the headlamp
and walk by the light of the moon.

There’s more, much more,
but I don’t want to spoil the mystique.

I’ll just recommend that you suit up—
get creative with layers
borrow good warm boots
with plenty of room to wiggle your toes
find some cozy mittens—
and give it a try.

In our world that is so filled with bright lights
and non-stop stimulation,
with a constant and rising hum of noise
and an insistence on doing, being, and having More,

I think our bodies, our hearts and minds
crave the peace of a winter’s day.

The chance to exhale and see the steam rise from our breath.
The opportunity to feel connected
to what is natural, unhurried, and aligned.
The invitation to step into a place that says, simply,
Yes, you belong here.
Welcome home.