As the days shorten and winter appears in earnest, I like to look on the bright side. The landscape may appear barren—in shades of white and brown—but the sunrises and sunsets are often brilliant in reds and purples, oranges and yellows. With almost no effort, I can wake in time to see the sunrise, the morning light seeming to set the woods to the east of my house aflame. And I easily work long enough to see a brilliant sunset through my west-facing office windows, the colors fabulously visible as the trees have shed their leaves. Like my fellow Minnesotans, who are still here to read this issue, I endure the long winter. But I also appreciate that the winter solstice comes early. After the 21st of December the days grow longer, at first by just seconds, and then by minutes. So even if the temperatures continue to drop, we have passed the darkest days. And I remind myself as I take my daily walks, clad in down and fur, that I don’t have to weed the vegetable garden, or worry about whether the grass is getting too long, or fight the mosquitoes. Winter comes with quiet, searingly cold beauty, and a steady march toward maple syrup season which signals the coming spring.
Anne Marie Ruff Grewal is a writer, editor and environmentalist who has recently published her second novel, Beneath the Same Heaven—a story of love and terrorism.