“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”
~ J. B. Priestley
Hooray! Finally! Finally, the snow has come! It’s been a long wait this year. I love white Decembers, especially with the glow of all the holiday lights. My partner and I have been waiting for the snow to arrive, just so we could head out to the mountains and tromp around in it. There’s nothing we love more than a snowy day in the mountains of Kananaskis Country, Alberta.
“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.”
~ Gary Zukav
Winter Walking: Loving it!
Almost no one else we know really loves winter. But we truly do. We genuinely love the snow. We even love the cold. We take long walks nearly every day here in Calgary, warm or cold, sun or cloud, fog or snow. We enjoy walking no matter what the weather (the secret is having excellent winter wear); but what we love best is going out to the mountains for a winter hike. The peace and tranquility of the mountains in winter are a balm for the soul for city dwellers like us. The beauty is breathtaking.
“I please myself with the graces of the winter scenery, and believe that we are as much touched by it as by the genial influences of summer.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Planets Align
Everything finally came together for us: the snow came down—lots of it—the temperatures dropped, the skies cleared up, the sun came out, and we both had some free time mid-week. So, off we went to spend the day in the mountains, hiking and enjoying the splendour of Kananaskis Country.
The hour-long drive from Calgary to the Kananaskis was spectacular. There is always some sort of unique beauty to appreciate in the passing landscape. This time, two dazzling sundogs flanked both sides of the sun, a perfectly blue sky framed the snow-white mountains, ice crystals filled the air, making it look as if the gods had strewn pixie dust everywhere. The air magically sparkled and fog slinked around the mountains and floated in the valleys for dramatic effect. When everything comes together like this, we both feel euphoric. Now that’s how to get a natural Rocky Mountain High!
We are so fortunate that we can get out to the mountain parks mid-week when few people are out there. We passed only a few cars on the park roads, so we were not surprised that we did not see any other cars parked in the trail lots or meet any other people on the trails. It gave us the pleasurable feeling of having this amazing slice of wilderness all to ourselves. We particularly love how serene it is out there on a quiet, windless day. The peacefulness is utterly soothing. We simply can’t get enough of it.
Trail at Upper Lake, Kananaskis Country, Alberta. Mount Indefatigable rises in the background.
Hiking near Boulton Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta.
Me and my Sweet Bear.
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
~ Lewis Carroll,
Through the Looking-Glass
The creek, in all its half-frozen beauty. It was silent, but for the gentle burbling of running water beneath the ice. The only other sound we heard was the crunch of snow under our boots and the beating of our own hearts.
“Mid-December is thus one of the most positively magical times of the year. Things are possible during December’s darkening days that are not even dreamt of at other spokes of the Wheel of the Year. We should use this magic as a vehicle for deepening our awareness of the world around us and preparing our souls for the ongoing pilgrimage of our lives. A seeker of Wisdom in the thrall of Winter’s Solstice should consider their celebrations as a spiritual pilgrimage or even a quest, during which, through the disciplined use of the spiritual imagination, he or she may encounter one’s own truest self along the way and in communion with Spirit.”
~ Montague Whitsel, The Fires of Yule
My partner, happily traipsing through sun-dappled snow.
“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter… In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.”
~ John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers”, 1866
The skeletal bones of last summer’s wildflowers. To me, the seed heads are just as beautiful as the vibrant summer blossoms are. I am always completely mesmerized by the beauty of the cool winter colour palette. I love the way the shadows are cast in varying tones of blue and mauve and the way the sun yields a pleasing soft yellow light.
Fragrant pine branches, blanketed in fresh snow.
“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…
In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”
~ Ruth Stout
Few things feel more exhilarating and enlivening than winter sunshine, new snow and breathing in fresh, cold, pine and spruce-scented mountain air.
“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
Walking to Pocaterra Warming Hut to enjoy the lunch we packed up: piping hot, hearty, homemade soup, hot tea and some homemade banana-pecan bread. Food never tastes as delicious as it does after a long walk in the snow.
A happy snowman someone built just outside the hut.
Toasting our toes in front of the fire at the Pocaterra Warming Hut. We happened to be the only people in the cabin, so we made ourselves quite at home, enjoying our lunch and tea in front of the blazing fire my partner built for us. Life is good.
I love all the seasons—they each have their own intrinsic beauty and mood. Winter is cocooning time and I love it! Happy December!
All photography by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2016 madlyinlovewithlife