winter reflections + tidings

21 December 2012

since moving to a country environment, i have started to track the seasons in a way i never have before, even though growing up in the North i have always felt so intimately connected to, and affected by, their ebbs & flows. while i have always been detail-oriented, taking notice of the little things that often go overlooked, the past year has changed me. out here, away from the noise of the city, i have learned to slow down. to pause in the middle of the woods and simply listen, taking in my surroundings with every breath and sense in my body; to take a break from my research and writing and wander outside simply to stand in the middle of a snowfall, feeling the cold, soft flakes on the skin of my face as i look up—and not only once in awhile, but regularly, at every opportunity. slowing down and taking pause is something i deeply respect about winter, even in its turbulence when it snows us in, stranding or preventing us form going anywhere. it is a season capable of teaching us how to take small steps towards a slower, more thoughtful and meaningful life.

since the first snow last month, winter has started and stopped countless times, moving from cold temperatures back to warm ones before plunging once again into deep cold; from light snow barely dusting the ground to heavy snowfalls, rain, freezing rain, hail, and still more snow, creating sheets of ice and hardening the earth—what have become the frenzied characteristics of a bipolar Canadian winter. but in whatever form, winter is here (to stay) and i welcome it. just this morning we woke up to a fresh blanket of snow, renewing the winter landscape and prompting me to go outside and, as contrived as it might sound, take in the fresh beauty. to take a wonderful little moment to myself. 

while i know i will grow tired of the cold in the coming months, the magic has only just begun, making me feel like i am experiencing winter again for the first time. the startling, frigid beauty contained in the smallest of details: a delicate snowflake, soft snow adorning the branches of pine and spruce, a frozen bud or needle closed in on itself, frosted treetops, an icicle frozen in time like a distant memory, jack frost quivering on windowpanes, frost-covered eyelashes and beards, gently falling snow that seems to hang, unmoving in the air; the way that snow changes the light, producing a field of colours and the most amazing range of whites and greys in what at first seems to be a barren, colourless landscape.

and so maybe my photos are overdone or seem a little tiresome, but they celebrate something simple and yet monumental, something dear to those who live here: a still & quiet beauty, a wonder contained deep within the winter landscape, but that also shimmers so visibly across its surface as it reaches out with open arms. there is a strange comfort in winter, as if it wraps us up and gives us permission to slow down, even if only for a short while.

for those of you dreaming of a white Christmas, i suppose this glimpse into a winter wonderland is my humble gift to you. a gift of beauty & wonder as we nestle in to celebrate the holiday season with the ones we love. as we try to slow down.

i also want to take a moment to thank you for visiting my blog this past year, for sticking around and engaging with its original content as i have worked hard to construct something thoughtful and meaningful. i have been reflecting a lot on blogging and my relationship to it lately, on what i want this space to look like and where i fit into an evolving blogging culture.

to that end, i want to leave you with a few wonderful and evocative posts from writers whom I admire and respect on blogging meaningful. on producing more carefully curated and thoughtful posts that celebrate process and writing, and on building small, meaningful relationships based on respect and a willingness to accept constructive criticism:

 Erin of Design For Mankind's post on "slow blogging," with an emphasis on research, thoughtfulness, storytelling, and writing, on crafting a culture of blogging based on less rather than more. i am happy to see a commitment to this approach from a prominent blogger.

 Jane's thoughtful reflections on how we support each other in the blogworld, in which she criticizes the notion of "automatic support" and outlines the consequences of giving our support uncritically and too readily, proposing a new model of support that aims to be more meaningful.

 Hila's "Lesson's Learnt," a reflection on her experience of blogging in which she challenges the notion of an all-encompassing blogging community and revisits her thoughts about how little writing is valued in the indie blogging community since she wrote this landmark post together with Jane earlier this year.

wishing you love & warmth, and tidings of comfort & joy.



all photos are my own, taken with iPhone 4 and edited primarily with VSCO Cam.


  1. Absolutely stunning words and images. I envy your slowness, hope to embody some of it, if only for a few days this weekend and next week.

    Thank you for including a link to my post. I'm glad that it gave you something to think about and I hope you find your balance with the ole blogging in 2013 - it is a relationship that's definitely been evolving for me too.

    Happy Holidays to you. Thank you for all you do here and wishing you a wonderful year in 2013! xx

    1. thank you so much for your kind words, Jane. they mean a lot, coming from you. i am so happy to have you here as a visitor.

      your posts always give me so much to think about. you and Hila really are the best models of the kind of blogger i want to be as i continue to grow and develop this humble little space. i have certainly felt the (mostly self-imposed) pressure to produce more and keep up with the blogworld in attempt to carve out my place and develop a readership base, but am continually faced with the simple reality of how much time and energy it takes to produce honest, original content in addition to working on other non-blog related projects, especially when you approach writing as a craft and something of a profession, as something you work hard at and take pride in. i am beginning to reflect more on what my place in all of this really is, on what part of the community i actively want to participate in and support, and i in part have you and Hila and your constructive criticism and encouragement to thank for that.

      i especially love how the change in seasons has prompted me to embrace a particular kind of slowness, to focus on the things i find meaningful and to take my time. and i feel lucky for that. i know that andrew and i aren’t going to be living out here forever and will most likely find ourselves back in the city one day, or at least much closer to one, so i want to take in everything my environment and surroundings here have to offer and learn from it. it is far from perfect, but it does hold something special.

      i wish you happy holidays and a wonderful new year as well, full of moments of slowness….


  2. I'm sorry I only noticed this just now, it's been quite hectic lately.

    Thank you for including my post in your own beautiful one. 2012 was a year of lessons, and thought, and change for me. It was quite difficult too, but I'm hoping the lessons learnt will prove useful in 2013.

    I'm also hoping for good things for us all this year, Happy New Year!


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