Winter seems to incite a lot of conversation, mostly complaining, but it's here and we have copious amounts of snow blanketing the ground. While arriving a bit early, the beast has taken residence for the duration. Like myself, many people who live in Northern Michigan experience a love/hate relationship with winter. Each year, come September, a certain feeling of dread grasps my psyche, torturing it with thoughts of oncoming caliginous days and messy, bone-chilling weather. Melancholy sets in from recalling summers activities and there is a certain amount of regret for not having done enough of them outside. Plans to think positively about it tend to go awry sometime in January, after having shoveled truck loads of it, and scraped ice chunks from the windows of the car. Yet on select days, there is an indisputable grandeur to the white comforter that envelops this part of the earth.
For all the acquaintances in my social circle, there are a few who welcome the season or actually anticipate its arrival. If only a soul could harness some of that attitude. What makes them unique, however, is more than a positive attitude. It's a genuine fondness for snow and frolicking in it. Skiers and snowmobilers flock to Northern Michigan to take advantage of the white hills and wilderness trails. While having partaken in these activities in the past, it's a push to say that this inhabitant has more than a passing fondness for it. My reasons to love winter have to come from another source.
The other source is painting. Time spent in my studio in the winter months is cherished. The white quilt of snow with its low lit shadows and diamond-like sparkles on the sunlit banks, summon the painter. Many thousands of paintings are created within the confines of my cranium. One begins to see life in paint. Trees, barns and rolling hills morph into globs and smears of oil on canvas, most of which never get started in reality. But a few eventually make their way into the studio, and become palpable.
There's something ever so tranquil about gently falling snowflakes and fluffy dollops of white atop a small birdhouse. Snow clinging to tree branches and evergreens glisten in the sun, until it warms and retreats to the ground. Some of the purest cobalt blue skies and periwinkle shadows can be found in a sunlit winters day. Among other reasons to appreciate winter are rest and reflection, good books, fireplaces, hot chocolate, blizzards, warm soup, fuzzy slippers, and eventually, the spring thaw.
There is no season like spring, when the earth resurrects itself, refreshed with anticipation and beckoning of maple sap, morel mushrooms, wildflowers, strawberries, and beaches. We wouldn't comprehend its glory unless we withstood the scourge of winter.
So, roll on, ye rampant winds and heinous, horizontal snow. Your demise is imminent and we take pleasure in watching.