A few winter thoughts composed at the start of the season.

As the sun set and snow fell on the shortest day of 2013, it seemed a fitting start to winter. 

Now the days are growing longer, a welcome change for all of those who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or participate in outdoor activities.

That’s one good reason to celebrate the arrival of the cold season. The potential for more sunlight is also a plus (maybe not so much in July and August.) Winter solstice means Christmas is a stone’s throw away. Even the snow that winter often brings softens the landscape and dampens noise, providing opportunities for reflection, for those who choose.

Even though winter can be brutal at times—February still awaits us—it provides an essential dormancy, a time of rest if you will, for the natural world. That holds a good lesson for us. We could all likely use a little more down time to recharge for the daily battles.

Perhaps those who most fully appreciate winter are the young. Sledding, making snowmen or snow forts, and being dismissed from school for snow days are all part of the fun. Youth relish the season and its wonders. The rest of us spend 10 minutes or more scraping the car windows--or burning gas with the defroster on. Then, we shift into drive, trudge onward, and hope not to slide through the next intersection.

Winter, like most seasons, is a matter of perspective. Each season has its positives and negatives. We all have our favorite one. For those who like to spend time inside with family, winter may be preferred. For those who enjoy shoveling snow … okay, that may be stretching it a little.

Anyway, for all of you sun lovers, take heart: the days are getting longer.