Today is the first day of spring.
Usually, I am ecstatic over this change. Winter, to me, often feels like a long, drawn-out, ugly season that can never be over soon enough. I long for sun, warmth, flowers, and thunderstorms.
Spring is not my favorite, though. In fact, I love all the seasons for different reasons, and I especially love the change. I don’t think I would thrive very well in a climate where the weather is static and the trees don’t make a stunning transformation every three months or so. That being said, I’m typically done with winter by January 1.
But this year, the first day of spring isn’t carrying the relief it usually does. I almost feel a little sad to say goodbye to winter. I didn’t hate it. It wasn’t miserable. I wouldn’t mind another cold snap or two (and truth be told, I’ll probably get my wish). And whether consciously or unconsciously, whether in my control or not, a few simple things made this past winter bearable.
Snow. This was obviously nothing I did. But we got a lot of snow this winter, and it made me very, very happy. We had a white Christmas, the snow beginning to fall around 7pm on Christmas Eve, blanketing the ground with about five inches and snowing off and on throughout Christmas Day. We probably got a half dozen snowfalls around that 4-5” mark, which I’m told is very unusual for this area of southwest Virginia. I often find myself in the minority about loving snow, but you can read more about why I love it so much here. Mostly, it just looks and feels like magic.
Sledding. Thanks to the snow, I went sledding for the first time in years, and I got to watch my kids sled (and fall in love with it) for the first time ever. We live on a hill, so sometimes we sledded in the yard, and once, when it snowed on Sunday and the plows took awhile to come out, we sledded right down the street!
Walking. I bundled up and walked almost every day this winter, despite the temperature, which meant I never felt cooped up. I never felt like winter prevented me from doing what I wanted to do. I chose to go out and enjoy the cold rather than complain about it.
Dressing Warmly. When you wear the right clothes, the cold is not so miserable! I bought a couple pairs of fleece-lined leggings, thermal socks, and funnel-neck fleece shirts, and I wrapped up in a coat, hat, and scarf for each walk. Santa brought me warm, waterproof boots, too, and I got in a couple of walks during snowfalls, which is the most peaceful outdoor activity on earth.
Brewed Cocoa. A friend introduced me to the deliciousness of brewed cocoa, and this drink kept me warm when I was inside, usually sitting at my computer writing or editing one of my novels. I experimented with lots of add-ins, too: steamed milk and cream, Bailey’s and caramel cream liqueur, hot cocoa mix, cinnamon and nutmeg and even cayenne! It was a newfound delight, for sure.
Reading and Writing. What better way to keep cozy all winter long than with a few good books? I snuggled in with my warmest blanket, turned on my space heater, and cozied up with some amazing characters and stories, some of which were straight out of my own head. By the end of the winter, I read ten books, and I had a complete novel and a finished rough draft.
Every season has its gifts, and while I look forward to what the rest of this year holds, I’m also incredibly thankful for winter’s unexpected delights.