A Conversation with Winter

By Michael Traynor


I was sitting in a Starbucks the other day, when Winter stopped in, ordered an Iced Caffè Americano, and sat down across from me. Winter seemed a bit down, so I asked what was the matter?  It had just read the latest Season Popularity Index. As usual, Winter came in the last of the four seasons, with only 7% of Americans saying it is their favorite. Midwesterners particularly loathe Winter, with a whopping 65% saying it is their least favorite part of living here. 

Feeling sad and lonely Winter said it was only trying its very hardest to help everybody and everything in the universe, and yet so few understood or appreciated that.  I offered to help with its image problem suggesting it to tell me about all of its good qualities, give me a few photos, and then I would post an article on the internet. Winter warmed to this idea! (That is saying a lot, because warming up is no  easy task for it.)  This is what Winter had to say….. 

Hello!   My Name is Winter…
My season begins on the Winter Soltice, the darkest day of the year. Each day following, I struggle to produce a few extra precious seconds of light and warmth for all creation. My work is slow, my progress mostly unrecognized, and I shoulder my responsibility with patience, perseverance and resilience. My season ends on the Spring Equinox. When I deliver exactly enough light and warmth to overcome all the cold and darkness that I inherited on my first day. I show all creatures that it is possible to overcome even the darkest moments.
My season slows the rhythm of time, quiets all noise, and focuses the attention. I bring forth attention to the smaller, more silent, shy and best hidden aspects of nature, not only around you, but also that which is within you as well.
My color is overwhelmingly ashen, a mosaic expressed in infinite variations, forms, and nuances. My season evokes a wonder for the vastness of creation and unity of its parts. Every part of my mosiac is essential, not extra. I lay bare the delicate weaves of connection that tightly bind us all together.

My season nourishes all of nature’s smallest creatures when facing their most barren moments. In my season, nature  at large gets sleepy and needs a rest. I do my best to  preserve life at those time, offering all the nourishment I can discover to the more smaller and weaker creatures that might otherwise grow weary, and lose heart.

I like to play!  My favorite toys are light, shadow and texture.  The sun becomes shy in my season, and so when the sun emerges to make a special guest star appearance, I create surprising, stunning color palettes erupting everywhere atop my ashen canvas. When those moments arise, my season evokes a gratefulness for the  hidden beauty all around us, and perhaps for the hidden beauty within each of us as well.

I work hard to bring all creatures together. In my season, creatures that might otherwise not be the best of friends learn to congregate together for mutual warmth, support, safety and a bit of kindness.  Competitors become cooperators, if only for a while. Each one is part of the mosaic of my season, learning firsthand from me that “no man is an island entire of itself”.

In my season, I help  creature appreciate there is no place like home.  Home offers physical and emotional security to reflect, rest, recognize the valuable and sacred, and prepare for new paths and  directions.  Here I help this squirrel relish the simple pleasure of a quiet meal at home.  at one moment in time. My season is capable of powerful and mighty deeds, and yet being able to offer small kindnesses and insights to every part of the universe is my most special joy.

After his explanation, Winter mentioned to me that thinking more deeply about its season had helped it better understand its essential role in the universe.  I told Winter that listening to it had helped me also gratefully reconnect with my own place and purpose in the world .  

We agreed that every creature could benefit by taking some time to reconnect with how essential they are to creation. Winter then invited everybody to use its season to do just that. We hoped that could go a long way to help Winter improve its image problem. Smiling broadly, Winter ] ordered a final Iced Caffè Americano to go, bade me farewell, and strolled happily out into its chilly, starlit night.