In 2019 I decided that I was going to move. There was something that I had been slowly working towards for a few years and it was time to finally finish it. This move would include a long car ride, stretching over weeks while I explored new places, and an overnight Ferry Boat ride. I was moving to Newfoundland, Canada, the famous Rock slicing through the Atlantic ocean. Named for the unique geological formations that make up this world wonder, including slices from the earth’s Mantle! Little did I know that 2020 was going to be a wild ride in more ways than the obvious. As someone who has adopted a nomadic lifestyle, it was an incredible adventure to hike the magnificent coastlines, gaze at the icebergs as they sailed by, and squeal with delight as humpback whales surfaced to take a breath. The natural landscape of this wild place was an experience like no other. Filled with winds that could turn on a dime, fog which would roll in on an otherwise sunny day, and a crispness to the air in mid-July. This place is nothing, if not an experience.
2020 brought not one, but two states of emergency to this island. In January, we received a record snowfall of 29 inches in a 24 – hour period. From my window, it looked like I was living inside of a snowglobe. The whole world appeared to be snowed in, and the only way out was with a shovel and some snowshoes. There were many people, with many different experiences of this winter wonderland. I was fortunate to be able to see a playground when I looked outside. As I stood on 2 feet of freshly laid snow, I peered out at the neighbourhood in childlike wonder.
I had never seen the world in this way before, and I was filled with excitement and curiosity!
It’s funny what happens when people go through an event like this. It brings the community together in a way that would not have happened otherwise. After months of living in this neighbourhood, I finally met my neighbours as we decided to dig a tunnel through a giant snow mound for fun! A new friendship was forged with this tunnel.
For those in the northern climates, we tend to move towards winter with a slight apprehension, and cling to the hope of spring. We prepare for the long, dark days hoping that it won’t be as challenging as last year. Our bodies tighten against the thought of the cold. Every snowfall/ice storm/grey day, brings a sigh of resignation and our minds and bodies feel into this. This seasonal change can feel drastic for some. Warm beds begin to beckon us to stay longer. With the lowered amount of natural light, our disposition shifts into a slight melancholy. We accept the winter as it is, and patiently wait for the first signs of warmth. We frequently hear and hold onto the message that winter is a time for rest and reflection, and it is. Yet, it can be so much more.
The winter world can also be a place for curiosity and wonder. What if we were to get curious with the world around us and embark on a season of discovery and experience? Spending a bit of time outside each day, can remind us of our childlike selves. Research has shown, and we know this deep down, that by spending just 20 minutes outside, can make all of the difference when you are feeling low with the season. Notice the world that is around you in that moment. Notice the sounds of the winter birds, the creak of the trees as they gently sway without leaves, and the way your breath forms a small cloud in the cool air. Pay attention to the sounds of the snow crunching underfoot, and the way the sunlight glistens off of the icicles. Lean into the discomfort of being a little bit cold. Notice what this feels like on your hands and face. Bring a mug of hot chocolate with you, and watch the steam rise!
The winter is a time for rest and reflection. It is also a time for play and awe. As I settle into the season of layers and thick mitts, I feel a little spark inside. I don’t know what sort of wonder there will be this year, but I know that I will be out there ready to meet my neighbours again!
Originally published in Nature’s Gold Magazine, Issue 5: Winter 2021