When winter is long, you need to find a way to enjoy it. When winter is as long and hard as this one has been, you need to find ways to embrace it. I’ve never been much into any of the winter sports — skiing, snowboarding, or skating, etc. — but I usually like winter. I have to say that this one has been a real test to my (mostly) positive attitude about winter. For me, it is mostly the lack of daylight and not the cold — this year the cold, the ice and the snow were more than enough.
In Canada, we do a lot of things to celebrate winter, such as a number of winter festivals. A few years ago, I even did a tour with a friend of mine to winter festivals in Ontario and Quebec. We went to Niagara, Ottawa, Montreal and, of course, the 300th anniversary of the Winter Carnival in Quebec City. It was really cold and snowy — but a lot of fun.
This year, I was invited to go with some students from the University of Toronto to visit the Hart House Farm and go for a walk in the woods — talking about the care of trees and winter spirituality and folk traditions. Our first venture was to be in January but was cancelled when the bus did not arrive. So, we rescheduled to the first weekend in March.
One of the things about walking through a forest in winter are the sounds. When we first ventured outside, we were greeted with the songs of birds — almost as if they were calling to spring. Once we were on the trail, though, the silence is amazing. Then the wind would pick up and the dry tree branches would tremble, sound like the Hag of Winter rattling her bones.
Here are some of the pictures of this outing into the woods to embrace the beauty that is winter in Ontario.