to say that winter is not my favorite season is an understatement of farcical proportions. i’ve used every word combination i know to communicate my loathing of the cold gloaming of winter over the years: the biting winds, the menacing darkness, the hardness and wickedness of it.

this has been a difficult year for everyone with sense to feel it. COVID has changed the landscape of experience for us all. it has quashed normality and estranged us from people we love. after nine gestational months of isolation, winter looked even more bleak when observed from the waning days of autumn. i arrived at the first dusting of snow with the heaviest heart i’d ever felt upon that seasonal milestone.

but although winter arrived on schedule, i now doubt its commitment. approaching mid-january, we’ve had no subzero days, no snowfall that could be measured in anything larger than inches, and no feral winds from the north that toppled trees and left us shivering and grasping in the cold dark. one day, on my way back from giving the horses lunch, i found my small dog digging carrots out of the frozen soil of the garden, unencumbered by steely blankets of ice and snow.

i know that i’m meant to rend my hair and garments at this proof of climate change, but… i’m content. i’m enjoying winter in the way that i hear other people talking about enjoying it, drinking the hygge from it in great, grateful draughts. even if i had anywhere to go (i don’t), the roads are in fine shape. the water in the horse tank doesn’t freeze deeper than a skim. i could walk across the meadow without snowshoes should i wish to spoil the shallow plain of snow, dappled with shaggy brown weeds that are normally buried deep in mid-january.

the ground is frozen, the air is crisp, but it doesn’t feel like a punishment or a travail. it feels like a long rest, time to plan the garden, time to sit quietly, wrapped warmly, and just think and feel instead of doing.

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