“In winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.”
– Ben Aaronovitch, Broken Homes
I always want to write about winter. I always want to curl up and read in the winter. It’s far from my favorite season, but it’s often my most creative and productive one.
I’m thoughtful and focused in cold weather. I embrace stillness and look for connections. If you’ve read any of my most recent posts, you don’t need me to tell you any of this. But if you’re new to this site and this community of travelers and dreamers, you might not yet know that winter has an uncanny ability to transform both my internal and external landscape. And judging from the responses my winter posts get, I’m not alone in this.
A quiet winter scene outside the quaint train station in Oberweißbach, Germany.
I seek inspiration in the winter and I look to other creative people when my own is in short supply. In 2018, I want to introduce you all to writers, artists and photographers I love by showcasing a creative medium I’ve neglected a bit on this site — literature.
That’s an odd omission, I admit, since I write for a living. But visual art is awfully easy to cover (especially in this image-heavy medium) and there are so many great artists on my radar.
But although I seek out visual art (and have stacks of things I’m still working on framing for my own collection), I go to other writers when I’m feeling stuck. I turn to books when I need inspiration. And my own journals are studded with quotes and thoughts from other thinkers, writers and creative people that help organize my thoughts, direct my own work and make me feel a little less alone.
I’ll continue to share stories about my own travel musings, creative process and lessons from my own life on these pages. But this year, I hope to share a little more about the writers who inspire me.
Here are some thoughts about winter from writers and thinkers far more eloquent than I am, as well as a few photos of winter from where I’ve physically (and mentally) been traveling lately — the American Midwest and the mountains of Germany. Happy reading!
Winter in Lake Bemidji State Park, outside of Bemidji, Minnesota
“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
― Yoko Ono
“Snow is a dream that wraps itself around you.”
Vivienne Gucwa, NY in The Snow
“Both the Winter and the Summer Solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives.”
– Gary Zukav
“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.”
– Paul Theroux
There was no place to pull over to get a photo of the snow covered trees in the Thuringian Forest. So I had to time my stop perfectly, glance over my shoulder obsessively and get this shot quickly.
“In winter I plot and plan. In spring, I move.”
– Henry Rollins
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell
“Covered by a blanket of snow,
the earth stopped spinning.
All was silenced except for the muffled heartbeat of the city
falling in love with winter
one snowflake at a time.”
– Vivienne Gucwa, NY in The Snow
“But winter was necessary. Why else would the world have it? The trees seemed to welcome the season, from the way they changed colors before they dropped their leaves and went to sleep. Winter was a part of a cycle, like day and night, life and death.”
― Merrie Haskell, The Castle Behind Thorns
Snow covered trees in Lichtenhain, Germany.
“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
― Mary Oliver
“…snow is also the embodiment of different forms of nostalgia. It’s the nostalgia for what once was, but also the nostalgia for what could be. It’s the warm cocoon that transport us not an ethereal in-between realm where cities can suddenly become silent and empty. It’s long and fairytales wrapped up in a beautiful fleeting package. It’s the embodiment of metaphorical ephemerality.”
– Vivienne Gucwa, NY In The Snow
“…I pray this winter be gentle and kind – a season of rest from the wheel of the mind…”
― John Geddes
“Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o’clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.”
― Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater
NY In The Snow, by Vivienne Gucwa, the force behind NY Through the Lens. (The book is featured in the first image of this post. Vivienne’s thoughts about snow also show up in the quotes in this story.)
What about you?
How does winter make you feel?
What are the unique challenges you encounter in winter?
How do you stay creative during times of rest?
What is your favorite place to visit in the winter?
What is winter like where you are?
Which writers, artists, and thinkers are you exploring this season? Why do you enjoy their work?
Are you a winter person? Why or why not?
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