The Stillness of Winter

winter sunrise across frozen lake

The stillness of winter, if one allows, can offer some much needed quiet time. Cold temps and freshly fallen snow may not be a favorite for many. But if you bundle up and head out for a wintery walk, it can provide a brief reprieve of calm amidst what are still some challenging times ahead. Meeting the sunrise as in the photo above is a lovely greeting we could all use!

The New Year is off once again off to a bumpy start. Our dry weather pattern and likely human error created the tragedy which was the Marshall fire. Then we are still faced with the pandemic. Omicron is transmitting at an alarming pace. Not exactly the way one would want to start off a new year, but here we are…

Winter Finally Arrives!

After an incredibly long stretch without any true moisture to speak of, winter has finally arrived. Staying inside cozy and warm with a cup of hot cocoa is a beautiful thing. But for those of us who like to venture out among the frigid temps when the snow shows up, it’s time to head out to take photos!

Footbridge with freshly fallen snow at dawn
Footbridge dotted with snow at dawn.

There’s something oddly therapeutic in making fresh tracks in the snow. Perhaps there is a child-like curiosity to it? The wonder of a landscape suddenly blanketed in white.

Observe a peaceful walk around your neighborhood. A local trail is even better especially if you don’t have to drive to get there. The crunching sound of snow beneath your feet is a reminder of how cold it may be.

A footbridge dotted with fresh snow invites you to cross. The soft, pastel colors of dawn with a solitary tree give the feeling of stillness. It’s also an opportunity to meet the morning and watch the sky’s colors change as the sun slowly rises.

Perhaps you will encounter dogs happily walking in the snow with their owners. A wonderful, cold winter morning indeed!

Wandering a Freshly Plowed Path

freshly plowed path with big leafless cottonwood tree
A freshly plowed path on a cold winter morning.

A freshly plowed, winding path encourages you to wander a bit further…

This particular path keeps company with big old Cottonwoods. Admittedly I’m not a big fan of cottonwood trees. However, Cottonwoods in winter are a whole other story. Their massive size and big, leafless branches look like veins reaching for the sky.

I find Cottonwoods so much more interesting in their wintery state. Without their leaves you may occasionally see some curious owls or even a bald eagle checking things out from above.

Yes, I have seen both along this stretch of trail – but sadly no camera to photo-document the moments!!

big leafless cottonwood tree after snowfall
Big, old Cottonwood tree after a fresh snowfall.

The old cottonwood in this photo is huge! The contrast of its limbs against the bright blue sky and freshly fallen snow make it even more striking and hard to miss.

Having passed by it many times in spring and summer, how different it looks in winter. In its leafless state you get a glimpse of what lies beneath. The tree tells a story in its own right. It’s a tad spooky looking – like something you’d see at Halloween with an owl perched in it. Its craggly looking branches – like limbs, reach towards the sky and the ground below. I know some resident red hawks frequent this tree. It’s a great vantage point for the prairie dog colony the sits below it.

prairie dog poking out from snow
A black-tailed prairie dog pokes out of his burrow after a snowfall.

Speaking of prairie dogs, even they brave the elements and come out in the snow. Tucked away in their burrows, they eventually poke their heads out – albeit tentatively lest they become an observing hawk’s lunch!

Get Outside!

Our tendency may be to stay inside and hibernate. Even Nature takes a nap as the landscape is blanketed in white. However, I can attest to the fact that a snowy winter walk never fails to disappoint. In our chaotic lives, it’s well worth it – even if it’s just to enjoy the quiet beauty of Nature. Or to marvel at the wonder of snow – camera or no camera!

Embrace the cold and those rosy cheeks. The hot cocoa upon your return indoors will be well earned 🙂

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