Outside my window the world is wrapped in a blanket of snow. Doors are shut firmly against the cold whilst snowflakes swirl and flutter, falling and settling, carpeting the street, the rooftops and cars.
Winter is here, and she is in full force.
As the neighbourhood wakes and rises the quiet is broken and children tumble in to the street, wrapped up against the biting wind. Mismatched bobble hats, oversized gloves and padded coats to keep in the warmth.
Shrieks of delight pierce the morning as snowballs are thrown and snowmen are built; dogs skid on the slippery ice, burying their noses in piles of snow. Mothers pull sleds of laughing children down driveways- there is a sense of frantic excitement on the street that swirls and dances with the falling snow.
In bushes and hedgerows hungry birds puff up their feathers and huddle together for warmth. A lone robin sings a beautiful song, undefeated by the cold, its’ red breast a vibrant splash of red against a colourless sky.
I leave the warmth of home to explore, looping an old knitted scarf around my neck to bury my face in to. Outside I feel like a child once more, enchanted by the beauty of it all. I walk the streets soaking up every detail, I take pictures, I throw snowballs. I live in the moment, until my lungs are burning and my fingers sting with the cold.
I return to a warm blanket and steaming mug of sweet tea to sit by the window and watch the day unfold. As I sit I am reminded of all the beautiful gifts that Winter brings. Although she can be cruel and unkind she is also endless in her giving.
With Winter we relearn to appreciate the important things that sometimes get lost in the tangle of life; a warm home, hot food, a snug blanket. And although it is cold outside, life is once again filled with comfort.
Christmas is ahead and despite the grey landscape outside, inside is a riot of colour as trees are dressed in golden tinsel and baubles the colour of a rainbow.
Winter is a time for loved-ones, for making memories with family and friends, sharing a meal and recounting what has been.
And it is a time for planning ahead.
Life is slow, quiet and fading through the colder months, but with it comes the possibility of a new year and of change. Much like the flowers that wilt and rot or the trees that scratch at the sky with their skeleton branches, we prepare ourselves for growth once more.