A Winter Song + a Poem by Wendell Berry



Yesterday, and the quiet evening before it, the softest, fluffiest, whitest snow fell quietly all around our home and the homes around it. A winter song, it softly sang like the whispering breath of a newborn baby, hugging every branch on every tree on every street, as far as our eyes could see. Like a scene straight out of Narnia, but better, we were transported to a magical place made of whimsy and secrets and dreams, a place more silent, more still, more soft, more soul-sirring.

Every hour the landscape shifted, different from the hour before it as the snow continued to blanket the earth, yet still whiter than white, a mystical sameness as Mother Nature continued to plaster her canvas. The elements water and air – crystalized alchemy – surrounded our home, our beloved place of love and learning and rest, with a sea of diamonds. Happily stranded with no where to go and nothing to do, we vowed to play in it, lay in it, make sweet treats in it, and retreat from it when ready.

While winter is not my favorite season (I am much more of a fair weather gal myself) I am learning with age and wisdom how to appreciate and live out the value of its deep-rooted rhythms of rest. When I peer out our big old windows or leap into the soft pillows that cover the frozen grass, I am reminded that everything else is asleep as well: creatures resting while tucked in their boroughs and tree homes, plants in hibernation, and dormancy abound. This in-breath rhythm, the ebb of the natural world, is our gift this season, and despite the hurdles it offers our way, it’s best we embrace the slow, or at least go slower, if we can.

Or so I’m learning. Because in no other season, no other time of year, can you vividly see all the branches on all the trees on all the streets over homes and homes and homes. Summer leaves and giant shady oaks make it impossible late spring through early autumn, but not winer. In winter, we get to see. We’re offered clarity. It’s breathtaking, really, and unless you learn to get out into it, like to really toss about about in it like you did when you were five, to get out in it’s purity to breathe in it’s fresh the fortifying air – it’ll slip by like other seasons, perhaps driving you crazy in the process.

If you are relishing this winter, savoring its gentleness and the inner rest its brought your way, keep reading its poetry and singing its song. If you’re ready for it all to be over, ready for a new landscape with more warmth and color to emerge, take heart: the seasons are something you can trust, which is that change is inevitable and everything is a season.  Winter will fold into spring, and the white snow will give birth to green buds. Slowly, slowly, slowly we get to watch this miracle, and if we’re really paying attention, to know ourselves better than we did last winter.


The Cold

By Wendell Berry

How exactly good it is
to know myself
in the solitude of winter,

my body containing its own
warmth, divided from all
by the cold; and to go

separate and sure
among the trees cleanly
divided, thinking of you

perfect too in your solitude,
your life withdrawn into
your own keeping

to be clear, poised
in perfect self-suspension
toward you, as though frozen.

And having known fully the
goodness of that, it will be
good also to melt.


A Winter Song: A Visual Feast of the Season 



The End. 


  • Irene - This winter wonderland is gorgeous. Have great, silent winter days!ReplyCancel

  • Kaleen Ezelle - You just made me fall back in love with winter, with seasons! What a lovely reminder of what it has to offer us. Rest. Restoration. I loved, “In winter, we get to see. We are offered clarity.” That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now with the Rest retreat and a new bible study group. So thankful for the clarity this season offers.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - I have so been enjoying your posts, this one included. Yes, what a joy and gentle reminder Winter can be if we let it. We’ve been having a mild winter where I am, so its been sunny, but the branches are bare and the flowers are gone. We are still in a quiet place of waiting. Also, I wanted to thank you for sharing the emotional Intelligence podcast last time. It was such a good listen, I made my husband listen as well and we both found it so valuable.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - The best snow is one that sticks to everything it touches. Enjoy this beautiful season. XReplyCancel

  • April - Thank you so much for creating this space. It breathes life into my soul this time of year and sparks the right intention for the months ahead.ReplyCancel

  • bridget park - this is so beautiful…and your photographs bring such peace. it distills a certain wonder, doesn’t it, the way snow finds and sticks to everything, highlighting the shapes of things in a new, unseen way? that snowman is sure cute. i thought, “now that looks like a watters family snowman.”ReplyCancel

  • Dewena - Even your clothesline is a work of art! I’m sitting here looking at all the beautiful snow pictures and reading your lovely words while looking out my own window to Nashville’s first snow of the season and longing for as much as you have. Ours is barely one inch but I’m as excited as a school child by that. I already have been “relishing this winter” but even more so after reading your lovely post.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany Smith - Beautiful words and photos to accompany them! Winter is decidedly my favorite season, and I appreciated your thoughts along with Berry’s poetry on the subject. Cheers and warm wishes to you, friend!

    xo Tiffany (IG @lilraysoflove)ReplyCancel

  • Laura Stewart - such a breathtaking winter wonderland ❄️🌲❄️ReplyCancel

  • Jen@thecottagenest - I do not remember how I found you but I am thankful that I did. I loved my visit here and will be back regularly.ReplyCancel

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