Winter is often a difficult time, mentally and physically. This short article suggests that we use our senses and our imagination to stay in the present moment and appreciate the unique perceptions which the season of winter brings. It explores the experience of winter. I suggest that, by really noticing what is around us we can come more into connection with ourselves and develop our interest and curiosity in what is on our doorstep. This can help us with low mood, worries, anxiety or depression.
January can be a difficult time of year. The days continue to be dark. It is cold and wet. There is a feeling of containment, restriction and needing to keep things tight. The body is working hard.
We are right in the middle of it.
Perhaps there is a sense of waiting...
The winter has its own sounds and light. I notice, as I walk around the park, the quietness. Winter has a quietness about it.
Obviously there are fewer people around, but the quietness is more than that. Nature is quiet. There are no leaves rustling. A few birds call, but they’re not singing – not yet. Strolling through woodland and around the park there is a quietness and a stillness.
Tree trunks and boughs are dark – black, even, with the wetness of the rain. Tree bark is striped with black and some dark green streaks - maybe algae and shades of dark brown. In the park the grass is a steadfast green, dappled with black mud. All around is green, black and brown.
The low angle of the sun creates fascinating, sometimes strange contrasts and illuminations. Walking along a quiet suburban street the upper storeys of the houses are brightly illuminated by the low sun. At street level, the light is low. The contrast between the brightly lit upper storeys and the hazy street level is striking. There are trees along this street and their branches spread out at first floor level, creating a sort of grotto on the street: dim below, bright above. It’s a slightly strange, perhaps even eerie, feeling walking along the grotto.
It is tempting to use negative words to describe the winter light: weak, dingy and gloomy. But, other words can show the particular quality of winter light: low, angled, white, watery, sometimes even bright.
The sky is often white or white-ish and there are light blues when it is bright and sunny - lighter than a summer sky. There are greys ranging from light to dark; sometimes purpling clouds and sometimes pinks at sunset.
At home, the low sun illuminates corners, walls, surfaces, veneer, grain and texture at angles which only happen at this time of year. It is unexpected. It surprises. Sometimes it challenges, when it falls on dust illuminated only by this particular angle of sunlight at this time of the year. It illuminates the motes of dust in the air.
The angles of sunlight offer surprises, sometimes strange and beautiful and occasional magic. The sunlight illuminates in a rare, even secret way.
There is much to notice.