Painted PrettyMount McLoughlin, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, United States
Mount McLoughlin is a focal point of southern Oregon. Everywhere you go, it seems to loom on the horizon. I've gazed at this peak dozens of times over my many visits to this park and I never realized that it was my local mountain! I have to say, McLoughlin doesn't have a bad angle!
I know objectively why so many people hate winter. In some areas of the country, like the state I grew up in, the temperatures can make it physically painful to be outside (or even prevent cars from starting). Snow can pile up and make travel dangerous, or at least add a minor annoyance to your morning routine. It’s dark for far longer than it’s light and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Winter is undeniably cold, wet, and dark.
But I love winter. I adore this frigid, frosty, dark season like no other, and I want to help you see why.
Picture this. You’re sitting in a window nook in a tiny log cabin with a wood-burning stove at your back and a picture window in front of you. You’re looking out over a vast, rolling landscape with trees and meadows and mountains, all blanketed in a thick layer of snow, except for the meandering river that cuts through it all like a lazy black snake. The sun is setting and casting everything in a dying orange haze.
And then it begins to snow.
The flakes are fat and lazy and they build upon the frozen landscape quickly, covering all the evidence of the day’s activity. The tracks leading up to the cabin, left there by a curious fox, slowly fill in. The pockets on the ground surrounding the trees, created from fallen clumps of old snow, vanish in the kiss of fresh powder. The orange light is slowly fading to purple and then blue, but the landscape never seems to get truly dark. Purple shadows stretch long and languid, even into the night. The snow glows from an untraceable source and the landscape seems to come alive all over again when the sun finally sets for good. You’re cut off from the scene by the glass and wood of the cabin, but you can still hear the stillness of the world outside. All sounds are dampened by the snow, even those inside your head.
You can smell the sharp scent of winter, mixed with the smoke from your fire. The frigid air fills your lungs more fully than warm air ever could and you can’t help but breathe deeply, savoring the action because it seems to light your blood on fire. You’re wrapped up in a bubble of warmth, but it doesn’t stop you from reaching out to lay your bare hand on the frozen glass of the window. The point of connection tingles with cold and with life.
The feeling you get from picturing this scene is the same feeling I get with every falling snowflake, every puff of frozen breath, every cozy, wrapped in a blanket burrito, night-in.
Winter is cold, wet, and dark, but it’s also warm, giving, and glowing if only you let yourself truly embrace it.
Top Photo: Mount McLoughlin, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, United States (January 12, 2018) - Photo taken with Canon EOS 80D, f/5.6 @ 55 mm, 1/800s, ISO 100