My second daughter moved to Montana this year. She is surrounded by the Rockies and sees the beauty of those mountains every day when she goes outside. She has yet to live through an entire Montana winter but is so far enjoying the snow, sun, and differences between there and Illinois.
Winter has been known as a "barren" time. A time of rest. A time when the ground and earth is "sleeping" to get ready for the growth in the spring. Many parts of the country experience winter like Montana or even here in Illinois. The landscape looks brown, dull, and lifeless.
But, if you look closely, you can still see many signs of life. You can see textures on the trees, holes in the ground where squirrels are digging up their stored nut supply, and tracks in the snow from deer, mountain lions and bears. Illinois sees those deer and also an abundance of foxes and squirrels bounding about looking for food. We also see the beauty of snow just like Montana.
The first snow is always the prettiest. Blanketing everything with a white, pure touch, snow leaves it's mark like a gentle wave of glory. It caresses the ground and covers the dullness of the season.
Finding Peace and Serenity
Have you ever walked through the snow filled forests? What sounds do you hear? The cawing of crows or the scuffling of squirrels, perhaps? Or the crunch, crunch, crunch of your feet as they wade through the snow filled paths?
I LOVE walking in the snow in the woods. The quiet is calming and the serenity is refreshing. It is so good for the soul. So good for the heart. Plus, studies show that walking in the woods produces more peace and calmness than walking on a sidewalk in a neighborhood. (I can see why!)
I can almost guarantee you will feel more at peace and calmer if you take a walk in the snow covered woods. Just wear a lot of layers and good hiking boots and go for it.
Take a walk with your family.
My favorite local preserve to walk in, especially in the winter, is Hoover Forest Preserve. At this preserve, you can walk for an hour or you can walk for 15 minutes and still see a lot of beauty. There is a paved road down to the river and many other paths that branch off to other sections of the preserve through the woods and over the prairie. Bundle up your kids and go exploring. Look for tracks and try to identify them. Try to figure out what trees you see by looking at their bark. Build a snow fort. And, better yet-take a few snapshots of your kiddos and yourself enjoying each other's company and just being together. You will never regret it.
All the images you see were taken at Hoover Forest Preserve just after New Years 2021. To me, it is a beautiful start to the new year. We all need to see more beauty in the world, so I hope you can see it through these images and when you spend time with your loved ones.
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