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Learning to Love Winter

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 by in Neither Here Nor There | 13 comments

It’s the dark season, the season of short days and long nights, coldness, darkness, freeze.

Everyone loves spring and fall and most people tolerate hot summer because of ice cream, but fewer people just love winter.

I am not one of them, but I am learning.  I turn 30 this year, and I am learning to love winter.  Mostly, I hate being cold.  When I was pregnant, all that maternal fat and pounds of baby kept me warm, which was entirely unwelcome in the Memphis summer of 2007 when I carried Abby, but when I am just me, 125 pounds of skin and flabby, stretched flesh, I get cold bone deep.  Nothing dispels it except maybe a fireplace, which we do not have, which is probably good because I’d spend too much time roasting and toasting myself before it and not getting enough housework done.  Still, sometimes I take my book and my cup of tea and prop myself up before one of our space heaters (which I’ve stolen from the room of a child) and pretend I am C. S. himself, thinking deep and powerful thoughts that will someday find themselves on the shelf at Barnes and Noble.

So, winter.  I was cozily tucked into bed last night and in a sublime state of sleepiness  when I was called upon to go outside.  Outside, into that frostiness and I was already wearing my pajamas.  I wasn’t very graceful about it, but when I got out in the frigid air huffing away indignantly, I did happen to look up.  I’m really not sure much compares to the beauty of winter stars.  They look as though the frosty air has fairly burned all the impurities and vagaries out, leaving perfect, glorious, hard-edged diamonds.DSC_0796

If you are tired of winter, go out in the night and look at the stars.

But that’s not enough is it?  No it isn’t.  Not when people get seasonal depression and blizzards snow them in and friends do not call and the electric bill is very, very unkind, we need more than the frosty stars.

Anne Lamott writes, Nature explodes in winter and even more people die than in other seasons. The poor freeze and starve. It absolutely blows your mind how cruel nature and poverty can be. You almost have to turn away, and many people do. We see the brutality of life and nature, and also of what lives inside us. I don’t like to see this. It does not work for me.

So, books.  There. You’re welcome.

Winter is the season of books.  I rise earlier to read them without chubby fingers bending pages.  In the shadowed morning, while the coffee stirs my neurons awake, books come alive, more lively than the weary evenings when I crawl to the couch and then to the bed and my neurons refuse to come out to play.

Books pile in a basket by our comfy blue recliner, fill our bookshelves, adorn our nightstands, and yet the post lady keeps knocking on my backdoor in the afternoons with more.  Winter is the season to buckle myself to the chair and read more.  Through books, I share in the collective thoughts of others who are far wiser than me; they are my companions, and they advise me, guide me, and in many ways improve me.

Maybe if you hate winter and feel it is the season of all things cold and uninhabitable, try thinking of it as the book season.  Get a warm cup of something, a soft blanket, a nice spot by the fireplace (or space heater) and read.  You might be surprised where it takes you.

On my winter booklist:


The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Non fiction:

‘Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott (finished and highly recommended if you can tolerate some irreverence and unorthodoxy (Tim, do not read), she has a lot of great things to say)

The 5 Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman

Disappointment with God by Philip Yancy

Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything by Tullian Tchividijian


What would you recommend? What is your must-read book of winter? Don’t tell me that book you are lukewarm about but do tell me the one life-changing title I cannot afford to miss.

what i'm reading
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  1. Every time I see in my reader that you have another post, I am so excited to read it because I know I will be challenged and blessed. So, thank you for writing.

    As to my winter-read, I am only on chapter 3 of Unglued by Lisa TerKuerst, and it has already been so encouraging in the hope that there are steps to take to deal with the raw emotions that unexpectedly hit us every day. It is very honest and I would recommend it.

    Thanks again for speaking truth into my life through this blog. Blessings on your day.

    • Melissa,

      You can’t know how I needed your sweet words today, so thank you so much for stopping to comment and encourage. I have Lysa’s book “Made to Crave,” but I certainly should check out “Unglued.” I’ll add it to my list… thanks!

  2. Ash, this is absolutely beautiful. I love that winter is the season of books. I am looking forward to my afternoon reading of the Great Gastby. 🙂

    • Emily, that is a fun read, as long as you aren’t craving a happy ending. Enjoy the foray into that time period!

  3. Winter is not my friend, I need the sun and the warmth to feel more like me. But even though I enjoy the warmer temps, I’m growing to appreciate winter too. It is absolutely beautiful, like no other season.

    • That’s so true. The view is often breathtaking. Blessings.

  4. yesterday I found myself, as my sisters and I like to call it, a day of wanting to pull the covers over my head. A winter blues I suppose, so I made myself get up this morning read my bible and talk to Jesus, then a run and feel like the day isn’t going to get me down….sometimes I think we do need to just push thru these kind of days, and with a good book is always a plus too (smile)

    • Yes, running is especially helpful, although I haven’t availed myself of it lately! Maybe tonight. Bless you.

  5. I love winter. There, I admitted it. 🙂 Summer is my least favorite season, probably because I live in hot and sticky South.

    Right now, I am reading Les Miserbles. I am falling in love with this beautiful work.

  6. I am reading Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity and wow…it’s heart-wrenchingly good.

  7. Ashley, I am right there with you on the, “I-hate-winter-but-I’m-learning-to-like-it.” I must admit (as I turned 30 last month) that the winters seem shorter and shorter the older I grow. 😉

    My girls and I just finished reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I have to say, that book made me so, so thankful for heat and fireplaces and food and a roof and warm clothes. I think any winter would seem mild in comparison to the one LIW describes in that book!

    I love your idea of thinking of winter as reading season. It totally changes my mood! 🙂

    Much love!

    • Audra, I am SO glad I am not the only one who’s mood needs this kind of redirection. 😉 Now I want to run out and collect “The Long Winter” and read it with Abby. And, yet another connection between us–we’re 30!

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