Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter


Winter, such a challenge! Particularly when it seizes the landscape in the dark of the night with winds which whip and roar, bringing snow, ice, heavy cloud and freezing cold. Personally, I love winter.  The comfort zone of the crisp, cold weather stands in stark contrast to the blazing, stifling heat of summer while the long hours of winter dark provide a comforting, companionable silence.  The cold energises, the summer heat stifles.

Frozen Landscape

This is an opinion, a state of mind, I can afford.  Once upon a time, I might have thought otherwise.  Flying over this country, from east coast to west coast, in the middle of winter has exposed me to the absolute awe and wonder of the geographical details of the land below.  Land, which for centuries was occupied by a people who lived within the parameters of nature’s guiding hand.  Land which later saw settlers set out through the hills and valleys to the wide open plains beyond which sat the bulwark of mountainous resistance.

Mountain Peaks covered in snow

Rocky Mountains USA

I entertain winter fantasies of living a life of log-cabin seclusion, somewhere in the wooded mountains surrounded by snow, the wolf well away from my door but howling somewhere in the far distance.  Forget the realities of food, water, bathing, heat and other comforts, not to mention pending loneliness.  This is my fantasy and in the fantasy of my log-cabin existence I would write, scratching out on paper by candlelight the plots, character development, and narrative arcs or rather, to put it more bluntly, do my best to tell a few damned good stories.

But then I remember how much I love an angry beach in winter, wind and waves crashing about the rocks, grinding them into the sand we feel between our toes in the summer months of longing coolness.

Johanna Beach

But then I remember how much I love the winter stillness in a big city, the bear in its cave, with winter lights threaded in a decorative homage of illumination to brighten the spirit and soothe the soul.

Sunrise over the river

East River winter sunrise. NYC

Traffic Stopper

Mid-winter, the clock begins its turn from the long dark hours of the night, slowly turning them into the days when the sun will dominate.  With this turn of the clock comes a new year into which we invest so many hopes, dreams and wishes.  Perhaps in this we are not so far removed from the hopes, dreams and wishes of the early settlers throughout time in wanting crops to grow with shelter from the storms.  To live in peace so that our children may grow old bones. Surely, this is not the stuff of fantasy, is it?

Central Park Snow

So I raise my glass in winter cheer with best wishes to you all for the New Year.  And however dark the days or nights never forget that somewhere in there, out there, the sun will shine.

Rocky Mountain Morning

Rocky Mountain Sunrise, January 1st, 2012

Sadly, I do not have a photograph of my log-cabin in the snow.  I know it is out there and as soon as I find it, I shall let you know!  Or should I keep it a secret?  I am hopeless when it comes to new year resolution and resolve but that doesn’t stop me from hoping that each new day, wherever it falls in the calendar, whatever the season, turns out to have been . . . an ok day!

Crazy fantasies, wild dreams, wishful thinking? Do we keep them to ourselves, hidden within the personality as part of our steely resolve?  Or do we expose them to the light of day, thus subjecting them to either the full glare of potential criticism or positive encouragement?  And which camp do we fall in when confronted with the hopes of others?

For those of you in the grips of winter, I wish you winter cheer.  For those of you down there below, keep cool and remember the sunscreen!

Happy New Year everyone!