When I step outside, the first thing I notice is the cold; the first freezing breath I draw into my lungs and the feeling of the cold air on my skin. The season has shifted to winter and when winter comes, so does the harsh cold, the bitter winds, the frost on the grass, and each tiny snowflake that flutters to the ground.
When winter comes, many things change, not just the temperature. The color of the sky seems suddenly icy blue, and the light of the Sun looks not as yellow, but white. Each tree is bare and looks dead. The earth is cold and hard. Animals have retreated into their homes to keep warm. Many animals hibernate or rest for long periods of time. Even in the autumn, there are not many animals away from their homes. Often humans stay inside during the winter rather than go out into the cold.
Under the leaves and fallen branches, hidden from the cold, there might be small animals or insects living there. Or maybe they went to a warmer place to live for the winter. In autumn, I saw ants under the leaves, coming and going, carrying supplies for the winter back to their homes. Other animals do this also. They prepare for winter while they still can. Sometimes humans might look at an animal’s home, and think, “Imagine having to live there!” But, their homes are not that different than ours. Their homes, like ours, are places where they sleep, somewhere they keep warm, a place they might keep their food, and somewhere they can go to stay away from other animals. These are all things that we use our homes for. Home to me is a place of safety and comfort. I find it hard to imagine living through a winter without the place I call ‘home’.
Winter brings the holidays, the new year, and finally the coming of spring. I find it interesting that New Years Day is during winter. When winter is finally over and spring has come, it is a time when plants and animals seem to come back to life. It is also a different year than the last, and everything seems to be different in its own way.
I often think about the beauties in nature during the winter; the excitement of seeing the first snowfall of the season, whenever it snows so hard you can no longer see what lies ahead of you, and looking out your window to see snow covered trees and a white blanket across the grass. Sometimes when I look out that window, I wonder if there is a animal living somewhere under the blanket of snow, trying to keep warm, waiting for spring to come so it can come out of it’s home and see nature once more.