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?