…and “You Think Your Winter Was Rough?”

Reading the NY Times this am as the snowflakes continued to fall, I came across an interesting editorial entitled “You Think Your Winter Was Rough?”  The writer, Nicholas Kristof, is a globe-trotter, peace-maker, do-gooder…you get the picture.  I often read his column to lift my spirits because he mostly writes about his uplifting interactions with people around the world.

In this column he shared the conversation he’d had with “two young Americans set off on the most daring and foolhardy wilderness expedition since, oh, maybe Lewis and Clark.” (Listen up social studies/history teachers. This piece of writing would make for good close reading and a comparison  someone else’s expedition…say Shackleton.” Those of us who read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, or saw the movie (a rare example of the movie being almost as good as the book), know that hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is a major accomplishment both emotionally and physically in summer. But doing it in winter does seem, well, crazy!

Having lived through such predictable challenges as snow-blinding blizzards, staying up all night to keep the snow off their tent to prevent it from collapsing, and getting frostbite from hiking through a blizzard, you would think they would retell their story focusing on their near-death experiences.  While they did mention them, what came through in the conversation was their absolute addiction to the beauty and challenges of nature.  Both had hiked the trail in summer, but  both were eager  to see it in another season.  “With the snow there’s so much natural beauty…It’s so peaceful. And the frozen rivers have these strange ice formations,” explained one of the hikers.

As we struggle through this never ending winter, let’s try to appreciate the savage beauty of winter and those who rise heroically to its challenges.  My daughter and I took a walk recently in our local park and were rewarded with two sightings of ducks that can only be seen locally in winter: the Ring-Necked Duck and the Hooded Merganser.  A swan waddled awkwardly across the snow-covered pond…white on white.  We had the whole park to ourselves. Not exactly the Pacific Crest Trail, but we were happy. As I sit in my cozy living room with a crackling fire in the fireplace and look outside at this suburban winter wonderland, I am thankful for all the seasons.

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4 thoughts on “…and “You Think Your Winter Was Rough?””

  1. Every season has its special moment that we love. Nature is incredible, but we have to respect it and do what we can to be safe. I do enjoy watching the snow from the inside, rather than being out in it.

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  2. Hi Barbara! I loved your phrase “the savage beauty of winter” because it describes the harshness of winter while nodding to its beauty too. I love all the seasons, as you do, and feel grateful to live in a place where the beauty of nature is readily on display and each season makes you appreciate the others by comparison. Your slice is a good reminder to stop and see the beauty. I have been in a negative place with this winter. As the snow kept falling yesterday, I just felt more and more trapped in my house with cabin fever. With my little ones circling around me, I feel desperate for fresh air, playgrounds, green grass, and a warming sun. I am so over the slush and the boots and being too cold and messy to venture out. But seasons pass before you know it, so your post reminds me to take in some of that “savage beauty” even as I hope with all my heart for some spring weather!

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  3. And I love how much you appreciate everything about life! Admittedly, it’s much harder to “enjoy” winter when you have two young children, but take the challenge. Take them outside for a walk on a sunny day…you’ll all feel better!

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