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

Get outside in the winter!

Here in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley in early December, the weather is getting colder, and we've even had a heavy snow already. Right before Thanksgiving, temperatures dipped down into the single digits. But that's no excuse to stay inside! Bundle up with layers of clothes, thermal underwear, and a down coat, and you'll be surprised how comfortable you'll feel, even on a very cold day.

But why would I want to do that?

I'm psychic. I can hear you asking that question from here… 🙂

Mother Nature is just as active in the winter as she is in the summer, but so many people miss the interesting sights and sounds of outdoors in the winter, just because they don't want to brave the weather. Getting outside helps you beat the winter blues, burns a few calories, and stimulates your circulatory system. And most important of all, of course, you'll become more aware and appreciative of the natural world around you and the amazing ways plants,  animals, and birds adapt to the winter environment.

Pay attention to the ground, the trees, the birds, and the squirrels. Do you see tracks in the snow? Where do they go?

Check out the holes in your trees. Is there a critter in residence for the winter?

Pay close attention to your favorite trees and notice their branches. Each adapts to winter in slightly different ways. Think about what's going on deep inside each branch to get ready for spring.

Notice which trees and shrubs are evergreen or which ones hang on to their leaves all winter.

Pay attention to the air. Can you feel the moisture in your nostrils freezing? Can you smell woodsmoke in the air? Is it clearer than in the summer? Can you hear anyone chopping or splitting wood? Sounds often carry farther in the winter air.

If you've got a nature journal, make notes of your observations!

Muster up a little courage and get outside in the winter to explore, especially if you have children or grandchildren. Getting outside will also give you bragging rights to tell your couch potato friends what you've done. I'll write a post later with some great ideas for fun outdoor activities to enjoy in the winter.

Whats your favorite thing to do outside in the winter? If you leave a response, let me know where you live. Are any of my readers farther north than my friend Karen Sanderson (The Word Shark) in Minot, ND?

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