I’m thankful for… Winter Wonders

Today I’m feeling thankful for:

  • Montana Winters — long and cold and dark and daunting and powerful and mystical and gorgeous — Spring, Summer, and Fall are wonderful (they are the reasons I live in Montana) but I am convinced that it is Winter here that makes all the rest possible — it wipes the slate clean, resets the natural world, and begins everything anew; without the Winter, this place would not be what it is.
  • snow — fluffy, white, frozen water drifting, blowing, dusting, and tumbling to Earth like feathers of magic — it blankets the landscape, it buries cars, it outlines every branch of every tree, and is the best temporary building material the sky ever made — you can even cover a mountain with it and turn it into an acrobatic theme park.

  • thermal fabric — silk, alpaca, wool, smart-wool, fleece, acrylic, capilene, polyester, down-stuffed anything, even nylon — these wonders of industry make life possible for humans in 0°F weather — they keep our fingers, noses, ears and toeses on, and keep the rest of us warm and dry enough to stay alive. Every day I put on a layer of silk, cotton (not thermal, but breathable), smart-wool or capilene or polyester, then a wool sweater, then (to go out) probably a fleece jacket, a down coat and/or a nylon shell, with fleece ear-muffs, cotton/acrylic scarf, wool mittens, and sometimes fleece-lined wool hat and nylon snow pants. Sounds like a layered dessert to me for some reason.
  • heat — amazing stuff, that hot-ness — from our own cores, to our furnaces, to our car defrosters, to the sun himself — we’re so fortunate to have fire and to know warmth, even in a Montana Winter.
  • light — I’m not trying to get too cosmic, here, with these last two, it’s just that even though the Winter is far from over, and the cold days ahead are as long or longer than the cold days behind, there’s something about rounding that corner of Winter Solstice, and recognizing that the days are getting longer again, and seeing more light each day, that is like the warmth of heat, the comfort of thermal fabrics, and the wonder of snow for the mind — and what’s more, the last 2 years we’ve had more sunny days throughout Winter than all the other Winters I’ve spent in Missoula combined, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

  • snow-boots — our whole family now has stellar Winter boots — thick, warm, dry, easy-on and -off, and easier to get around in on the ice and drifting snow.
  • chickadee(s) — we have a Winter stow-away or two this year, living off the chicken feed and compost in the chicken yard — fat, fluffy, tennis ball(s) of mottled feather that I feel as happy as a birthday to see hopping around the branches of the bare shrubs by the fence.
  • hot tea — I drink it all year, but it sure is nice to hug a mason jar of hot yumminess when it’s 30°F or below outside.
  • homeopathy — so good for dealing with whatever we get from being cooped up this time of year.
  • the YMCA — indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna for the whole family — need I say more?
  • imgination — thank goodness our kids have such strong ones to help them (and us) get through the many months of playing inside.
  • books — in Winter, under thermal fabric, with hot tea… mmmmm
  • love — yep, I’m feeling thankful for that four-letter wonder that makes everything everything all right — it may not be directly related to Winter, but we couldn’t survive the long cold without it, that’s for sure, and in any case, I sure am thankful for all I’ve got — between family and friends, I am ridiculously wealthy in love.

That’s the list for the moment. I think my tea is cool enough to drink now…


Be well.

About Nathan M McTague, CPCC, CPDPE

I am a full-time parent of three, Writer, Life Coach, Lecturer, Parenting Mentor, and Shamanic Practitioner. In all of the above, I am seeking to assist my fellow humans in their processes of claiming and unleashing their highest potentials.
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4 Responses to I’m thankful for… Winter Wonders

  1. hakea says:

    Hi Nathan

    Lovely photos and reflections upon of your wintry place in the world. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be that cold.

    We have some heat we can share – 42 degrees celsius and bushfires. Summer is the time when we hibernate with books and movies and everything closed up to keep the heat out. In winter we go bushwalking because the temperatures are more pleasant and the snakes are slower and not so feisty.

    • Narelle!

      Good to hear from you. I always like to think of my friends “down under” when I am celebrating (or lamenting) the season here. It just recently dawned on me how much farther North we are than anything down South is South (except the very southern tip of South America). I had previously always imagined (without thinking much about it, obviously) that it was just the exact opposite of here, there, seasonally. I know it doesn’t mean the same to you, but I sure like the idea of Winter being milder than Summer. Here, it never really gets hot enough to stay in doors in the Summer (though I remember what that is like from growing up in the Southeast US).

      It’s funny all the little trade-offs and idiosyncrasies of any locale/environ. I grew up in Alabama, which is bloody hot and humid all Summer (and most of Spring and Fall as well) then bitter, wet cold, and/or rainy in the Winter. I couldn’t stand the heat or the biting version of cold there. My first dozen Winters in Montana I was so thrilled to be away from the heat and humidity, that I really celebrated the extreme Winter temps, and because it was dry cold, it felt much less harsh, even at much lower temps. Now I know how to dress well enough that I don’t get too cold, but I also am genuinely sad to see the Summer go each year (rather than happy to be done with it) because it is so absolutely amazing, here, and I know it is going to be chilly (at least) for several months…

      Glad you enjoyed the wintry details, Narelle. Be well and not too warm!

      • hakea says:

        On a good day here in the Blue Mountains, the mist rolls in and stays all day. I think I could easily live in that little town of Forks in the Pacific North West where it is misty and mossy.

        I often reflect on the writings of people who follow the seasons. How they talk about winter being a time of hibernation and reflection. For us, that is Summer. Winter is when we come alive! My kids are now talking about how they like Winter best because you can dress to stay warm but hot is hot. In the six weeks school holidays we have here from mid December to the end of January, they have naturally developed a Mediterranean way of living, where they go out to play for several hours after 6pm when it has cooled down and have a late evening meal. It does mean they are very late to bed, but that’s what holidays are for!

      • Love it. Thanks so much for the taste of life in the Southern Hemisphere!


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