Winter Lover or Hater?

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If the hard frost these mornings is any indication, winter should be showing up any day now. (This line and picture were from yesterday.)

This is the scene this morning.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about winter lately because as it approaches many of my friends and acquaintances are busy making plans to escape her reach. Winters here are long and cold, so this strategy is not all that surprising for people who have the time and the means to make different choices. But the pervasive attitude, for many,  is that winter is something to be endured – not embraced.

I began wondering about what the winter haters are believing about winter that is different from winter lovers. The winter haters seem to believe that winter is too long, too cold, too dark, and too limiting. It requires energy to get through a Canadian winter, so it becomes something to be endured or escaped. Winter lovers, on the other hand, are believing that winter is something to be welcomed and enjoyed. Although it feels long to some, the snow is usually here only from December to mid March. One group finds the cold and snow invigorating, the other something to hide from. It’s all a question of attitude, it seems.

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I happen to be lucky enough to live near a ski town, so I see first hand all the people who have embraced winter and are actually enjoying it. I meet them walking around town in their lightweight, brightly coloured parkas and they all look great. Their faces are flushed and beaming from the cold. They look happy and invigorated as they shop for food to be enjoyed with family and friends later in the day – by the fire, I’m imagining.

I couldn’t help but think mindset has a big influence on whether we are a winter lover or hater, so I was particularly interested in this article I read in The Atlantic titled, “The Norwegian Town Where the Sun Doesn’t Rise,” by Kari Leibowitz. She was there to research how the residents of northern Norway protect themselves from wintertime woes in the hopes that some of these findings could be used to help people who were suffering elsewhere with this issue.

lead_960Kari Leibowitz ( The Atlantic)

Tromsø, Norway is a tiny island 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. There the Polar Night lasts from November to January and during this time the sun doesn’t rise at all.  Interestingly enough, the residents of Tromsø have lower rates of wintertime depression than would be expected.

How do the residents of Tromsø protect themselves from wintertime depression? Some gave credit to cod liver oil or lamps that simulated the sun by brightening at a specific time each morning. Others thought it had to do with community and social involvement. Most residents though just talked about the Polar Night as if it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, many didn’t consider the summer months as being the best season.

So mindset, eh? I’m crediting the people of Tromsø for supporting me in not particularly enjoying the month of July here in southern Canada. As for winter, I’m sorting through my winter clothes, dusting off my snowshoes and cross-country skis, stocking up on candles, and, oh yes, will also be buying that cod liver oil.

Do any of you have winter plans?

 

*You can read the complete article on Tromsø  from The Atlantic here.

*Clinical seasonal depression is not like the wintertime blues and is something that needs to be taken seriously and treated appropriately.

 

29 thoughts on “Winter Lover or Hater?

  1. I often wonder why people take such a negative view, and hate winter so much. The mere mention of flurries brings a look of despair to their faces. I think you’re right when you say that it’s down to having the right mindset and being prepared to embrace winter. Personally, I love winter and enjoy the beauty and calmness of deep snow. There’s nothing more bracing than snowshoeing through fresh snow, followed by the comfort of a warm woodstove and hot tea. Add to that, a pantry full of homegrown goodness, with the work all done. Yes, there’s lots to love about winter.

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  2. Your photographs are beautiful! Another winter lover here in southern Vermont. Winter is the quiet time of year (holidays notwithstanding) when we can concentrate on intellectual pursuits without feeling guilty about neglecting outdoor chores. Winters here are quite a bit milder than yours, though, I think. There’s often a difference of 10 °F or more between southern and northern Vermont.

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    1. So nice to hear from you – we’re almost neighbours! I so agree with you about winter being a time to pursue your interests without all of the busyness of the other seasons pulling you in different directions. We are very lucky, I think, to have four such distinct seasons where we live. I am writing this as the first snow has arrived here in the mountains. I can feel the quiet. Nice…
      Enjoy your winter!

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    1. I love Ilze’s blog. When I started blogging in March she was one of the first people to respond. We discovered that we have a very similar climate -except for winter which is much colder here. Many of the wild plants that bloom here are blooming there at the exact same time. Who would have thought?

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    1. Hi Ruth,

      Winter certainly does have its share of magic – and photo opportunities! We had our first after dinner walk in the snow last night. With the skies that clear, it’s always worth bundling up to take in the starry, starry night. A great start to winter.

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  3. There’s lots to love about winter. Blankets. Hot chocolate. Bobble Hats. Candles & Fairy Lights. Mulled wine. Tights & Boots on all occasions. Not having to worry about pasty pale skin. Not having to worry about big frizzy humidity hair…

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  4. I am not a fan of the cold, so I suppose naturally I am not really a winter fan BUT I am soooo excited to see my first Canadian winter. I can’t wait to try skiing and snowshoeing for the first time!

    Although… we’re in Vancouver, so I am not sure if the rest of Canada considers it a real Canadian winter here!! It’ll count for me!

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      1. That is what I’m hoping! They have already turned white, but I don’t think it’s quite enough snow for skiing yet!

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  5. Where I live (in the Southern Hemisphere) we have no winter to speak of. The temperatures get a little cooler, but for the most part it’s humid and hot with very little variation. No snow, not much rain. Sunshine every day. Everyday! Can you imagine! 😉

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  6. I lived in Canada for a year and while I didn’t ‘not’enjoy winter I did realise that I felt a whole lot better when the white changed to green.

    I do believe that clinical seasonal depression is more prevalent than what we think.

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    1. Winters here are long and dark. It certainly helps to be active outdoors. That said, many like you, begin feeling so much better with the return of the light and warmth. Spring is intoxicating here – we are so needing the signs that life is returning!

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  7. Up until a couple of years ago, I loved winter. Once the snow started flying my sled and cross country skiis, and snowshoes would go into the back of my car. They provided a lot of fun and exercise and even warmth during the winter. But after a car accident a couple of years ago, my low back doesn’t like the cold, hates it if I’m shivering. So I dream of warmer places to winter.

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  8. I love this article. I think I land halfway in-between the winter haters and winter lovers. I mourn the start of winter because I love gardening so much, and now I go nearly 6 months without it. Yet, I enjoy winter activities (hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing) – especially since my kids are growing big enough to enjoy the activities with me. 🙂 Lovely post and beautiful pictures!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words about this post. I do quite well with winter but find the transition months (March and April) really long. I’ve done all the skiing I want to do, read all the books I want to read… I am so ready by then for warm sun and plant growth. Hallelujah for May!

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  9. If I didn’t have health problems, I’d probably love winter but I’ve never been fit enough to tolerate it well. I do, however, love your photos and what – so far – I’ve read of your posts. 🙂

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