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Appreciating the Quiet of the Cold

While we might dread the gray and cold each winter brings, surely the quiet and calm of a winter day can be so peaceful.

Last week, my four sisters and I traveled from all around the country to spend Christmas together at my parents’ house. We brought along our kids and spouses and, per the usual, piled into my parents’ house for several days together.

Just before Christmas, we got a full day of the most lovely and perfect snowfall. Big white snowflakes fell in winter silence. Then we took a walk through the park after the snow stopped and had a friendly snowball fight with the most perfect snowball snow.

I’m not a huge fan of winter, and I truly hate being cold. But there’s something about the silence of winter that’s so peaceful. For many years, growing up in Minnesota, I took this for granted. Only after living in the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago (whose sirens and horns and HVAC hums never cease, no matter the season) did I appreciate the quiet of sitting outside in the winter snow.

While home, I drove up to my parents’ house one day to find my brother-in-law sitting on the front porch in shorts and a long sleeve shirt watching that perfect snowfall I mentioned. Born and raised (and forever living) in San Diego, he doesn’t see much snow but for the time he spends at my parents’ house each year. I asked him why in the world he sat outside in his shorts, and he commented on the same peaceful quiet that falling snow and cold winter offered. It really is such a simple but true pleasure.

Just before we left for Minnesota, we experienced our own winter storm in Philly. Ours brought more ice than snow, but it still left in its wake the serene quiet of a dormant and hibernating ecosystem.

I took the opportunity to spend some time bundled up in boots and a coat with my camera. I love going for walks with my camera to capture details of nature, even when it’s cold. I shared a while back about a walk I took by myself through Chicago Botanic Gardens (albeit in much warmer conditions).

This time, I never left my own front yard. Yet I still enjoyed the quiet time to myself, focusing on Mother Nature’s small details around me, and the departure from the moving and shaking of our everyday life. I planned to be out for fifteen minutes and it morphed into nearly an hour. I was determined to capture a drop falling from the icicle on this black berry, and eventually I got it.

During winter, I often get holed up in the house. That can certainly be cozy and wonderful. But shall I not forget to slow down and soak up the peacefulness Mother Nature offers during the quietest season of the year.


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