Opening my eyes to winter

I used to hate the winter.

The cold (and the subsequent heavy clothes). The darkness. The snow. The ice. The silence. And how difficult it can be to get around.

I used to hate winter.

Until I read The Outermost House by Henry Beston.

For now I will just elude to it because I am reading it for a second time and taking copious notes, some of which I promise to share in future posts.

I simply want to share that Beston’s observations about the arctic bird migrations observed on the outer shores of Cape Cod in the middle of cold and dark January were enough to inspire me to give winter another chance.

Life does go on, even in the cold and darkness.

Silence does not necessarily mean an absence of life.

Those of you who read this blog regularly know of my lunchtime walks. I work in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a town with the vision to set aside beautiful walking trails in the heart of the town center. I have been walking regularly since the spring and still find new places to go.

My favorite trail is the Brook Path. The town cleared the path of snow and I was able to enjoy a gorgeous and crisp winter’s day walking past the brook. And I realized it’s just as beautiful in its own way in the cold of winter as it is in the warmth of summer.

winter summer 3

The sun, of course, is in a much lower position during the winter and with the absence of leaves on the trees, dances on the water in a most delightful way.

summer winter

There is a greater force in the flow of the water because of the melting snow. At times it nearly rushes despite the small size of the brook.

summer winter2

There are wonderful sensations in the winter. That crunching sound under your feet as you walk. The glistening snow. And the sweet silence.

Walking introduced me to all these things and Henry Beston’s book gave me the impetus to give winter a try. The cold no longer bothers me; movement takes care of that.

I am so grateful that I can find beauty in winter. It’s very different from the carefree summer breezes, fluttering leaves and the air filled with singing birds. It’s quiet and stark, the lines somehow clearer.

Winter is a beautiful thing.

This quote from Henry David Thoreau says it all:

“It has been a glorious winter day, its elements so simple,—the sharp clear air, the white snow everywhere covering the earth, and the polished ice. Cold as it is, the sun seems warmer on my back even than in summer, as if its rays met with less obstruction. And then the air is so beautifully still; there is not an insect in the air, and hardly a leaf to rustle.” Henry David Thoreau

And when I finish  The Outermost House, I will share some of the most beautiful and poetic writing about the natural world that I have ever encountered.

Stay tuned …

Click to Tweet & Share: Opening my eyes to winter, thanks to The Outermost House by Henry Beston

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A quintessential New England autumn in Concord, Massachusetts

Autumn in New England this year has been positively spectacular. In central Massachusetts where I live, the color is peaking this week. I haven’t seen such brilliant reds, yellows and oranges in years. Driving down the Massachusetts Turnpike every morning greeted by the rolling hills of fiery colors tucked among still-green trees starts starts off my day just right.

This is autumn to me.

A Massachusetts autumn to me is not complete without a visit to my beloved Concord. Transcendentalism flowered here for a time in the mid 19th century represented by such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Amos Bronson Alcott and Margaret Fuller. Nathaniel Hawthorne also called Concord his home although he did not subscribe to  Transcendentalism.

Little Women was written in Louisa’s bedroom – the physical setting for the book was Orchard House.

One of the most beloved books in children’s literature, Little Women, was written by the daughter of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May. I have been studying Louisa on and off all my life and since 2010, consider myself a full-time student. I blog regularly about her on Louisa May Alcott is My Passion.

Last Saturday I spent some time at the Concord Free Public Library in their Special Collections room pouring over the diary of Louisa’s oldest sister Anna (aka, Meg in Little Women). The bright sun and cool, crisp air beckoned and I took the walk that Louisa and so many other famous authors walked, down historic Lexington Road, to her home (the setting for Little Women), Orchard House.

Between the gorgeous day and beautiful trees, the lovely antique homes and the history I pondered while walking … you can perhaps appreciate why being in Concord in autumn is a mystical experience for me.

Enjoy this virtual tour and I hope someday you can visit this special place too. If you have visited, share a comment about your experience. We’d love to hear!

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Click to Tweet & Share: Concord in autumn … mystical… join me for a virtual tour of fiery leaves, antique homes & extraordinary history

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