I hate the bitter cold. I hate being cold. I can't stand driving in the snow. I don't like how others drive in the snow. I'm not a huge fan of removing snow. I hate slick stairs and walkways. I don't like snow days because my kids have to stay in school while summer is starting without us.
When I was a child, my family lived in California for a few years. It never snowed. I don't recall being cold. I remember the ocean and the tide pools and the sun. I remember sun dresses and bare feet and vegetable gardens.
In the 90s I lived in Atlanta for five years and it snowed once the whole time I was there (one time too many). The whole town was at a stand still. They have no plows, no salt - not prepared at all (not that they should be - it is HotLanta after all). Trees in the Georgia clay were uprooted and fell over. Branches literally covered the streets. Random do-gooders were out in full force brandishing echoing chain saws. It was like a natural disaster had occurred.
The one (and only) thing I love about this time of year is the visual beauty. When the snow gently covers the dark bare trees, and it throws a soft blanket over the dormant grass, and a vibrant Cardinal floats through a sea of white and tucks down into the woody brush - it makes me smile.
The view from my house is hilly and woodsy. Our house is on a street that runs north/south so the sun rises in the front and sets in the back. This time of year, the sunset is a mix of oranges and pinks. I've tried to capture it many times, but a photo cannot really do it justice.
These photos are from December 10, 2005 - a friend took them from our back yard with his fancy camera.
And the following are my attempt at capturing our backyard beauty with my far inferior camera. I took these December 28, 2008 at 4:45 pm - it was actually very dark outside.
Yesterday, while coming home from a long day of shopping - in and out of the wind and cold - I was getting on the turn pike when a hefty hawk swooped in and landed on a heavy branch in front of me. I got a good long look at him and he reminded me that I can be happy - no matter the temperature.
God's beauty is there every day of the year, it just takes a little effort on my part to see it - in spite of the winter forecast.