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Winter From the Back Porch

A lot of folks, okay, most folks, speak of an impending New England winter with dread. The cold, ice, snow, short days and sense of isolation seem to be the things people dislike the most.

I admit, the early darkness surrounding the solstice gets to me after a while, especially those months when I feel like a cave dweller. It’s dark when I leave from home to go to work and dark when I leave work to head home. It makes running even short, simple errands on the way home seem like an onerous chore. It makes me realize why the winter solstice has been such a significant event throughout the history of civilization;  the end of seemingly ever shortened days!

Yuletide celebrations are full of candle light and firelight for exactly this reason, to symbolize the craving for more light in this darkest of seasons. Anyway, I digress…

Besides that, I rather look forward to winter… It comes in the midst of the holiday season and we don’t pay it a lot of attention then, unless it disrupts travel or shopping plans. But once the craziness and  bustle of the holidays pass, it’s kind of nice to have some peace and quiet, a chance to regroup, enjoy some downtime… Time seems to pass more slowly in the winter. This can be a good thing if you plan ahead for it.

I save up a lot of indoor projects for winter, things that just don’t get done the rest of the year because, weather permitting, I am outside whenever possible.

I’m an avid scrapbooker and really enjoy being able to linger over page layouts and embellishment decisions and this quiet season lends itself well to those kinds of projects.

I have a mending basket that I avoid as long as possible, but by winter, I’ve usually run out of excuses. There’s always a plethora of stories on the back burner, just waiting for some relevant research to progress.

I design and build dollhouses and furniture and winter is the best time for me to work on these, undistracted by the garden.

At one time, I used to bake bread year round, but not anymore. It’s just too warm in summer and besides, the garden always beckons me then. But come winter, there’s no more pleasant task than trying out a new bread recipe. And while that wood stove is cranking away, it just seems wasteful not to have a stew or soup gently bubbling at the back. And while that bread’s rising and the soup bubbling, I might finally find time to sit near that wood stove and read some of the books that are stacking up nearby.

Is there anything as comforting as curling up under a warm throw near a wood stove with a cup of tea or cocoa and a good book, while the snow outside silently softens and buries everything beyond the frosty window?

And if I should feel a bout of cabin fever coming on, then my snowshoes are waiting and there’s usually plenty of snow to tread and new trails to discover. A lot of photos are just waiting to be taken and snow angels are waiting to be created. Sunlight is sharper now,m sunrises and sunsets are extra intense.

I still get excited about the first snowfall and I always hope for snow at Christmas. What can I say. It doesn’t really matter if we want it or not, it comes when it pleases, so why not make it a positive thing ?

Even though I always welcome the first real signs of spring, a small part of me regrets the winter projects left undone and misses the comfort of the wood stove. Winter in New England. It’s here almost half of the year, enjoy it !

Boston Commons in Winter