It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter walks

I know that I've posted before that I don't like winter, but I think I have to refine that statement.  The bottom line is that I don't like to be cold and that is what winter involves (or is supposed to anyway).  I do like winter things:  sweats, sweaters, soups, stew, fires in the fireplace, snuggling down with the dogs on the sofa on a cold winter night, just to name a few.  I used to dislike the drabness of winter.  The bare trees, brown grass, and dark days just make me yearn for spring. 

But I've begun to see winter differently.  Like a lot of things in life, I had just never experienced it.  I just focused on what I didn't like about it, never taking time to really look at it and discover that there is a different kind of beauty to be appreciated in the wintertime. 

Last January I visited the local Botanical Garden for a morning walk and again this weekend I walked through the garden on a morning walk.  I know as a child on winter visits to grandparents we would occasionally walk through the woods, but as an adult I had never taken anything other than a quick neighborhood walk in the winter.  These walks showed me that winter is anything but drab and offers much to see and appreciate.

The light in winter is different, a little softer but still dazzling.  Maybe it is the angle of the sun that makes it seem different, I'm not sure. The trees are bare, or almost bare, and the light comes through unfiltered.

Leaves form a carpet on the sleeping earth. They will be blown away with the March wind, but for now they lie undisturbed.  The overhead branches make ever changing patterns of shadows, almost like a stained glass window. The bare branches of the low lying bushes form a pattern, too, densely woven and almost like a fence. As the sun moves across the sky the patterns change like the pattern in a kaleidoscope.

The landscape is different.  I've photographed this same scene in every season; each season is different, yet beautiful in its own way.  In winter you can see through the trees, there is no shade and details that are hidden at other times can now be seen.  The tree trunks are visible and the distinctive shape of each type of tree is obvious.  Plus, what about those squirrel nests and clumps of mistletoe that are only visible in winter?
In the wintertime you discover things you've never noticed before.  I have walked by this area many times and never noticed these steps leading down into the amphitheater. As I paused to wonder about this I noticed the shadows of the branches on the steps.  (If you read Doorway Into the Past then you may remember that the amphitheater originally was San Antonio's first water storage facility.  I suspect that the round planter may have held a pump to move water into the water supply after it was pumped here from the Upper Pump House.)

Only in winter will you see leaves like these, their distinctive shape more evident and colors more varied.
A winter walk reveals much to be seen and appreciated.  It breaks the monotony of the indoor routine and refreshes the mind.  Each walk shows me new things and what I've seen before is always a little different.  I still don't like to be cold, but I do feel that winter isn't so bad and I can look forward to it each year just like I do the other seasons. There really is beauty in the winter.

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