Taken during a walk at the beginning of winter.

Last week when New Jersey was hit with two snow storms, one after the other, I started lamenting over the seemingly perpetual winter. In fact, pretty much everyone I knew started to grumble about it. So at the end of the week when I started to draft this post complaining about the “grey-ness” and the freezing 20°F temperatures, I found the following quote.

Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. ~Hugh Macmillan, “Rejuvenescence,” The Ministry of Nature, 1871

I am thankful for winter. In fact, I love winter. I really do. I love that I live in a part of the country where we have four seasons and that we have snow. To wake up and to see a winter wonderland right outside your window is a magical moment. And to me, it never gets old. Even when I want winter to stop, there’s no denying the breathtaking beauty of clean and white newly fallen snow.

There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance. – William Sharp, poet

And there is something about winter that causes me to be more introspective and reflective. The cold grey days and snow covered landscapes offer very little distraction. Winter has a simple beauty. It is uncomplicated. Even my wardrobe reflects that. Black and grey. And I suppose I “gather into my own heart” and I think. I dream. I pray and I imagine.

But there is also the harshness and austerity of winter. It’s cold.  It’s dark.  It’s bleak and dreary.  Snow turns into slush. Rain turns into ice.  It’s dangerous out there!  And it seems to last forever.  Often times during winter, our family is bombarded with sickness. During these times, we are forced to meet these challenges with qualities like perseverance and spunk, a “stick-to-itiveness” that is needed to endure the often times monotonous, tedious, and hard days of winter.

Having a grateful heart always carries me through those times and instead opens my eyes to the wonder and beauty of winter. As a family, we actually enjoy (most of the times) being cooped up together. What kid does not like snow days? Board games, puzzles, Nerf gun fights, Age of Empires, ps3, and big epic movies are some of the things that we enjoy as we fight off the winter doldrums. And I must include warm hot chocolate with big marshmallows.

So looking back over the last few months, I am thankful. I am thankful for the lessons winter teaches me every year. During each winter, I am like the plant that nature “withers down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.” I am ready to be reborn with the spring.

An invigorating walk through the snowy woods last Friday.

If you would like to share your version of “Thankful Thursday” (photos or text or both) today or in the future, you can link your post to my post on Thursdays in the comments section. Have a wonderful Thursday!