Here in the heart of winter we layer our clothes in protection from the weather, we linger under warm blankets or beside the fire, we notice the gradual shift of light toward longer days now that we have passed the winter solstice.
This winter I have had the opportunity to visit two special places in my life – the Peace River country of Northern Alberta where I grew up, and Winnipeg, Manitoba where I attended college and met my husband. Both places have far more ‘classic’ winter than my home in moderate Niagara usually has. It had been so long since I had seen the beautiful northern winter sky that I had wondered if I had dreamt it. What a joy to find it as beautiful and as still as I remember it. And Winnipeg – what can I say about the deep freeze you delivered? I appreciated the reminder of what it takes to live in the cold and the beauty of things like ice palaces and skating paths on the river. The way Winnipeggers embrace winter living is truly inspiring.
Winter brings us beauty and hardship in the same breath it seems. If we are attentive, we may find new understandings of the depths of strength within ourselves, or our more tender places that long for healing. This February 10th and 24th, Beth Woelk and I will be hosting a winter seasonal retreat that will allow for this kind of reflection – in the company of others, in a contemplative winter walk (less vigorous than those on previous retreats), and in solitude. Visit the Stillness -Winter Day Retreats page for details and to register.