“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
~ From “Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
The Mother Nature always has a way to show its artistic touch. The colorful autumn is followed by a white blanket of snow and the cold chills of winter season that covers better part of the northern globe.
December 21 marks the official first day of winter season in America, when the day is the shortest of the year, and the night the longest. However, if you look at the snow covered outdoors, or if you ask the school crossing guards in the early mornings, or if you see the cardinals, Canadian geese and European robins migrating to warmer territories……you can tell that the winter has been here for many weeks.
Snow Storms and Bone chilling Cold
The better part of North America and Europe is painted white with fresh snow of December. The leafless trees, the rooftops, the roads, the frozen ponds..…everything is beatified with an accent of white snow. Some may say that there is nothing beautiful about winter – the opinions vary, the tastes differ.
In the cold days of winter, the old and wise may prefer to take shelter from the fierce weather and hibernate indoors. However, the shivering temperatures and frost bites of wintry chill are not enough to discourage the young ones who are busy with winter games. Making snowmen, sledding in the backyards, or starting a snowball fight with the next-door neighbors……are part of the daily rituals.
As the temperatures dip below freezing, the wrath of cold is felt everywhere. A few minutes of direct exposure to the freezing chill can get you in some serious danger and health risk. As I write this (on December 20, 2009), the better part of America is in the midst of a monster size snow-storm. Washington DC, New York and many Canadian cities are being hammered with heavy snowfall, with more than 20 inches of snow accumulation in last one day. The treacherous outdoor conditions are creating havoc for everybody – the blizzard and white-outs, the slippery roods, the snow covered walkways and frozen airports runaway…… The week-end before the Christmas, thousands of travelers are stuck on the road, or in the airports.
The train service between England and France is canceled for the weekend after the severe wintry weather in northern France caused the breakdown of six trains, stranding thousands of passengers on both sides of the English Channel on the weekend before Christmas.….
Well, you got the idea! Winter is not a pretty season when it comes to outdoor life!!
Christmas and New Year Parties
The Christmas holidays – the Christmas celebration – is the main attraction to look forward to in the winter season. The gift-giving, the music, the special meal, and the display of decorations including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe……. The Christmas celebrations are a welcome break from the shivering outdoors. The kids wait for Santa Claus to mysteriously deliver their gifts and toys on the Christmas night. Most of the schools and business close for Christmas holidays. Those who love shopping and gift giving – including gifts for self – the winter is the best shopping season. Starting Thanksgiving, the stores and shopping malls offer some of the best discounts and deals of the year.
The Christmas is followed by the new-year festivities, where the nightlong parties are the norms. After all, winter is not all that bad if you look closer!
Many poets and writers have symbolized the winter season as a ‘downer’ – when hope is scarce to find, when depression becomes a contagious disease. In fact, many of you may recall, in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, it is always winter and never Christmas; C.S. Lewis used winter to suggest the absence of hope in this classic. So, it is not so uncommon to face the ‘winter blues’ – the gloomy mood symptom blamed on the harsh cold weather. Continue reading