As the Winter Solstice approaches and the days get progressively colder and darker, I find myself longing of summer days when the sun rises early and sets late. I love those long hot days of playing in the woods, laughing with friends and eating food fresh from the garden. In the past I wasn’t as found of winter, but we’ve become friends in recent years. I’ve learned to appreciate chilly mornings and crisp nights. I’m grateful that winter brings with it a chance to slow down, get cozy and reflect on the year that has past and the spring that is coming.

This year I’m eager to embrace winter! I’m already dreaming about the possibility of snow. As much as a can, I plan to get outside. The natural world around us is so different and beautiful this time of year. During the day the sky is a deeper blue, the stars seem crisper, and the song birds are bright and beautiful as the migrate through my backyard to their summers homes. The trees that appear lush and nurturing in the summer take on an ancient and majestic feel once they shed their summer leaves. I especially love Sycamore trees whose bright white trunks are radiantly beautiful.

I encourage you to embrace winter yourself. Enjoy a backyard campfire (here’s a video tutorial). Take a hike and revel in how expansive the views are when the leaves aren’t there to block them. Track the birds that migrate through your yard. Try to identify the deciduous trees that have lost their leaves. And find peace in this time when the bears hibernate.

By Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director