For a few years now, I’ve been saying that as I get older I crave the sun and the warmth of summer, that I prefer summer and heat and sunshine.
And while I do love how it feels to be outside when it’s warm, the ease of it, the fact that I don’t have to put on so many layers or worry about slipping on ice or trekking through deep snow, I do also like winter.
The truth is I like all of the seasons.
I love the warmth and heat of summer, the way I can sit outside for hours and breathe in fresh air. I also love the shifting colors of the leaves in fall and wearing sweatshirts for the first time after months of hot weather.
I love the invigorating feel of the cold, winter air and the beauty of the earth when it’s covered in snow. And I love how it feels when it starts warming in the spring, hearing the birds, seeing the flowers begin to bloom, and feeling the world come alive, starting to wake up.
There’s always beauty around us, something we can appreciate if we soften and tune into the world around us. When we’re present, appreciation and can arise naturally within us.
It snowed quite a lot last week, and as I’ve been walking, I can’t help but be in awe of the world around me. Everything looks so beautiful. The trees and houses and earth are covered in snow. Even when it’s dark, it doesn’t feel as dark because of the white of the snow. And yes, it’s a little slippery where there’s ice on the ground, but it feels so nice to walk or run outside in that cold, fresh air.
It also feels so cozy to be inside, especially now as we have lights on our tree and decorations in the windows.
In the summer, I often feel so much inner pressure to be outside, to be out enjoying the sun and warmth, and I don’t feel that same urge in the winter. I walk and I run, but I’m perfectly content staying inside too. In a way, it feels easier to soften and relax.
What if we spent our time looking for the beauty and potential in the world around us? What if we softened into our experiences? What if we sunk softly, warmly into the present? What if we didn’t resist what is and allowed ourselves to enjoy where we are?
What if we allowed ourselves to appreciate being right where we are?
My mom said that my sister and I used to love playing in the snow when we were young, that all day it would be a mix of getting our snow clothes on and taking them off again because we wanted to be outside.
I think a lot of children are like this; they just play and have fun all year long.
I remember sledding down hills, which I liked (though I dreaded having to walk back up the hills because it was so dang hard!). I remember going cross country skiing with my dad and my sister down our road and a field nearby our house. I even remember going to get the skis!
Children can have fun all the time, with anything, no matter the weather or the time of the year. They play; they have fun with whatever the world is offering to them.
They don’t have all of the mental preferences that we have as adults. I don’t think they dread winter because it’s cold and snowy—they just go outside and play in the snow.
When we can soften into our experiences and become present, we can find deep appreciation for where we are, for what we have, for what we’re experiencing. We can start to notice and look for the beauty around us, the potential.
And we can see how our resistance to what is, or our idea of how things should be, or our idea of what we think we prefer can cloud the experiences we’re having, can taint how we experience what we’re experiencing.
What if we let ourselves sink into each moment that we’re living? What if we looked for the beauty in the world around us? The potential in the experiences we’re experiencing?
What if we let ourselves be present with what is?
What if we simply breathed into what is?
I may love the warmth and the sun and the ease of summer, but I also marvel at the beauty of winter.
There are always things we can appreciate in life; we just have to soften and breathe into the present.