morning skyline over the frozen lake

Winter in Midlife

I love winter. While driving in the lake effect blizzards we get here in Cleveland is not something I enjoy, walking and playing in the snow always bring joy. And nothing beats a steaming mug of real cocoa while watching fluffy snowflakes swirl and shimmer as they fall from a night sky. I appreciate these quiet, simple pleasures more now in midlife.

I’m grateful for the slowing down that seems to come with winter. Oddly, I seem to write more, get more of my personal things done, without the pressure of sunny summer days. Long, hot days beckon with constant whispers that I am missing out on all the warm-weather frolicking. Winter’s freezing temperatures and snowy cloak give quiet, convenient permission for solitude and reflection. And snuggling with a sweetie can linger a while, without a schedule of activities and engagements that can fill up summer’s long days.

So here’s to you, winter, my friend.

Winter skyline over Lake Erie

To Winter

By Claude McKay (1889-1948)

Stay, season of calm love and soulful snows!

There is a subtle sweetness in the sun,

The ripples on the stream's breast gaily run,

The wind more boisterously by me blows,

And each succeeding day now longer grows.

The birds a gladder music have begun,

The squirrel, full of mischief and of fun,

From maples' topmost branch the brown twig throws.

I read these pregnant signs, know what they mean:

I know that thou art making ready to go.

Oh stay! I fled a land where fields are green

Always, and palms wave gently to and fro,

And winds are balmy, blue brooks ever sheen,

To ease my heart of its impassioned woe.

May your December find you smiling, whatever the weather is where you are. I leave you with these photos from a snowy December trip to Iceland four years ago. And, as a cherry on top, a naughty-but-nice little sign-off. Happy holidays to all! ❤

December in Iceland has just four hours of daylight each day, with the most gorgeous red-orange skies I’ve ever seen.
The air temperature was warmer here in Iceland than it was in Cleveland (-6°F) on this December day in 2017. Wind chill, however, was something else entirely.
A small Northern Lights display after several nights of searching.
Our guides brought Icelandic vodka for us to drink as we waited for the Northern Lights to appear.
The orange reflection of the setting sun on the windows of a cabin.
Vik, Iceland
I could’ve spent all day in the Secret Lagoon natural hot springs. Incredible! I highly recommend this over the crowded, man-made (using wastewater from an electrical plant) Blue Lagoon tourist attraction.
Ringing in the New Year in Reykjavik.
Iceland’s black sand beaches.

May your days be merry and bright.

Poem credit: From Harlem Shadows (New York, Harcourt, Brace and company, 1922) by Claude McKay. This poem is in the public domain. McKay was born in Jamaica, and wrote from his perspective as a Black man in the United States.

Source: poets.org


All images are my own.

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31 comments

  1. I try to be positive about the winter weather. Posts like yours help. I LOVE the heat and sunshine of the summer (or of almost every day when I lived in the SF Bay area), but yes, these cold icy days in New England help me stay inside and WRITE and create. 🙂 Happy new year! And thanks for the gorgeous photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for including the gorgeous photos. They go perfectly with the mood you’ve described and views off Lake Eerie. Our son graduated from Oberlin and I fell in love with the lake around Cleveland. I would not have minded moving there but the job brought us to Boston, still a new and colder world for me coming from Texas.

    Liked by 2 people

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