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Monday, December 5, 2011

Finding the Positive in Winter

I spent a good part of an early December day at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, photographing geese and sandhill cranes by the thousands.

Although the sun came out for a while in the afternoon, temperatures remained in the low 30s, and a cold wind quickly made my fingers hurt. It was a fun day spent with a small group of other amateur photographers, but I was very happy to get home that evening.

Readers of this blog will know that I am not a big fan of winter weather, so the first order of business was to get some warm food. A hot shower helped me warm up even more.

That night, in bed under my blankets, I realized that one thing I do like about winter is the feeling of being warm and cozy in my bed. I love lying between flannel sheets and feeling the comforting weight of the three blankets that keep me warm. I like to keep the house at 59-60 degrees at night, and feeling warm in bed is a really special feeling. Of course, that means some chilly times until the house warms up in the morning, but a cup of hot tea always warms me up.

Another thing I like about winter is comfort food. There is nothing like a bowl of hot soup for lunch to drive away the chill. I do more cooking during the winter, making chili, soups, stew or casseroles. I've also been baking quite a bit since the temperatures became cooler. That, however, has the downside of my 'having' to eat the cake or cookies or whatever else I have baked.

After many months of wearing shorts and short-sleeve tops in the high desert where I live, it's nice to slip into a comfortable sweatshirt or sweater in the morning. I much prefer to exercise outside rather than on the treadmill in the garage, so unless the weather is really nasty, I'll put on my fleece coat or parka, depending on the temperature, and head outside for a walk. I love feeling warm, snuggled in a nice coat on a chilly winter day.

Winter also can be a good time for photography. The New Mexico sky never fails to amaze me, and I enjoy photographing snow scenes.

Of course, I could do without the snow and ice winter sometimes brings. But at least there are a few positives to this often-gloomy time of year. And it feels good to be able to find something to like about my least favorite time of the year.