Winter is Coming…

It is a season I dread. The colder temps chill me to the bone and winter driving is something I avoid at all costs. But here in Canada, especially Northwestern Ontario, winter is unavoidable. We have four seasons, even though the magnet on my fridge divides them into two: winter and bugs.

Canadians are known for winter – it’s almost a source of pride when we talk about the weather with anyone who doesn’t live in our area. Sometimes it almost becomes a game of one-upmanship. For example, I scoff (politely, of course) at the feeble attempts of friends in Southern Ontario who post a picture of their outdoor thermometer. Mine is always colder. If it’s not, I might tell them how we’re living in the tropics up here.

But deep down, I shudder when I hear “wind chill” on the radio weather update. When the cold hits, and stays, I’m not a cheery person. Quite the opposite. But really, if we have colder weather half of the year, it’s not healthy to be grumpy about it so I have to figure out a way to enjoy our colder, shorter days.

Yesterday, I wrote on the back of two little watercolour paintings I made into postcards. (I love snail mail. Getting a real letter in the mail has always excited me, and sending letters makes me equally as happy because I hope the other person gets excited too)

Then I chose to sit down and begin another little painting. I scrolled through my saved posts and pictures, found a beautiful photo taken by Blair Wright, and got my supplies ready. I’m beginning to love this ritual, which usually includes lighting a candle and pouring a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

As the light began to fade, I chose to keep painting. I couldn’t see the details as well and I began to question some of the colours I mixed but it didn’t matter. It felt wonderful. The candlelight provided a soothing glow and there was a spark of excitement in this little bit of risk-taking.

This morning, I got a better look at the final product and took it outside just because the fall colours would contrast with our leafless backyard.

I love it.

For so many reasons. The scene depicts Ouimet Canyon, which is in Dorion – my home town. I love the mix of fall colours and the strong contrast of shadows only seen on very sunny days. And of course, I love it because it was so fun to make. It holds a memory of a beautiful, calm evening sitting at my table, painting by candlelight.

It makes me wonder if this might be one way to make happiness in winter. Not find happiness, but make happiness.

I pulled out my copy of The Little Book of Hygge, which seems like the healthiest way to welcome the winter season. It’s also a good time to stock up on candles and cozy socks and sweaters.

Next step: finding a way to get outside in the winter and enjoy it.

How do you make happiness in the winter?




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6 Responses to Winter is Coming…

  1. dougpete says:

    Winter isn’t the happiest of seasons for me but I do my best to look at the positive side of things. Next Saturday, the lights go on in our Navy Yard Park and we make daily trips to view things; it really is an uplifting experience. Sadly, they don’t keep the lights on until Spring! January and February are pretty grim. I try my best to remain positive. It is difficult.

    • colleenkr says:

      I Googled Amherstburg’s Navy Yard to get a sense of what it might look like. I couldn’t find pictures of their lights yet but I’ll keep looking because it sounds really nice. There’s a place in Duluth called Bentleyville that has a beautiful light display you can walk through – we went there when the kids were quite young and enjoyed it so much. I wonder if it’s similar to your Navy Yard?
      It is too bad that they don’t keep it on through the tougher months of winter because I agree with you – January and February are very challenging to get through. I might have to get my geek on and make a little calendar to plan some things to tackle the season head-on.

  2. lisamnoble says:

    I will admit that I love the winter. I ride my bike almost year round- as long as the roads have been cleared. I even have a pair of battery powered heated gloves. For me, being warm is key. When I cross-country ski or ride my bike, I have layers to wear. There is very little I like more than being outside on a blue sky, frigid day, and then coming inside to eat well, cuddle up and create – knitting or spinning, with a cup of tea or hot chocolate.

    • colleenkr says:

      Battery-powered heated gloves??!! I need those! And battery-powered heated socks. And a sleeping bag I can walk around in.
      Being warm is the very thing that keeps me from enjoying the winter and I’m going to have to push past my Scrooge-like tendencies and actually invest in stuff that will pay off in the long run. I’ll start a list of items to look for, starting with heated mittens or gloves. Any recommendations of brands, stores, etc.?

      • lisamnoble says:

        Lee Valley, in their Christmas gift catalog this year (which is some of my favourite reading) has rechargeable handwarmers to slip into your gloves. They look like a slim power source.
        Layers are the key. Merino long John top and bottom (I get mine at Costco). I have a pair of Salomon ski pants (they have an extra wind resistant layer on the front) . I layer up on top with performance long sleeved tees I have thrifted or merino again . A performance fabric zip hoodie and then an old MEC windbreaker. As the temp drops, the top layer will switch to a midweight down puffy coat (vintage MEC) , and for frigid yard duty days, a full on Michelin man MEC puffy. Head right now is a balaclava and toque, both from Costco, because they’ll fit under my bike helmet, but I will also use knitted cowls, scarves and hats. Super warm socks and 3 different temperature ranges of boots. You have to keep moving, no matter what you’re doing.

  3. dougpete says:

    If you check my photo albums on Facebook or the Amherstburg Navy Yard group on Facebook, you’ll see a small selection of what is there. I’ll have the camera going once the lights are activated this year. They have added displays from year to year with the young-ish lights now on display at Toddy Jones Park.

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