We passed the shortest day of the year just a little while ago. At this, the darkest and coldest time of the year, it may seem hard to find joy and light. But at our homestead we embrace the season as a time of rest, and a time to deepen our relationships with one another.
From spring through fall, we are so busy with the garden and putting up food that we miss out on many of our favorite pastimes. One of those is reading the Sunday paper. Every year when winter hits for good, I put in for my annual, 12-week, home delivery subscription to the Sunday newspaper. This paper is so large that it can take several days to fully digest. I revel in sitting by the fire, reading my New York Times, and knowing that I have no weeds waiting to be pulled or tomatoes that will rot if I don't get them jarred up.
We also spend time making music together at this time of year. Music brings us together and lifts us up. We may not be ready for a Carnegie Hall debut, but to us it sounds wonderful.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen during the winter trying new recipes and making things I just don't have time for during the rest of the year. January is a great time to bake homemade crackers, soft pretzels, cinnamon buns, and other complicated and time-consuming recipes. I have a penchant in winter to bake things that are cheaply purchased, but that take hours to make from scratch for some reason!
Even if reading, making music, or baking aren't your cups of tea, instead of railing against the darkness and cold, try taking a moment every day to appreciate the sheer beauty of winter. The sky as sunset approaches is uniquely stark and can be stunningly beautiful. The silence of the woods is like no other time of the year. If you are lucky enough to live where there's snow, that a blanket of white makes everything look sparkling and fresh again.
Winter gives us an excuse to slow down, to take it easy and spend time talking with each other, enjoying our hobbies, learning about topics that interest us, and planning ahead. There's something in each season for everyone if we just look hard enough.