Every winter I hit that spot when it feels like winter will never leave. Here in Kansas we don’t even have the beauty of glistening snow to brighten our days; except for rare snowfalls, the days are an endless succession of shades of brown.

The trees are brown, the grass is brown, the street is brown. Brown chickens peck in my brown yard, and gray-brown cats slink around looking for a gray-brown mouse to feast on. The sky is not always brown–it often chooses bright blue to wear. But somehow the blue does not justify the interminable parade of brown.

My spirit feels as brown as my surroundings, and I struggle to find bright bits of joy. They are there if I look–the red rose Will brought me for Valentines, the laughter of my son when I tell him a funny story, and the snuggles with my foster child and her pink blanket.

But then I read the news or Facebook and everything quickly becomes brown again. Abusers getting off scott-free and the church defending them. Family members weeping as their loved ones die or go missing. People arguing about theology or dogs or the government. It all feels so grim.

I know that spring will come; I believe it. New life will push up green from the brown, brown, brown. But until then, I have to live in winter. I have to make peace with winter because it has something to teach me. I have to find beauty in the brown.

How do you do it?

15 thoughts on “Winter

  1. I agree with Maria. I like to grow alfalfa sprouts and sunflower shoots to spruce up winter salads and add nutrition. Another thing that’s helping me a lot this winter is researching things pertaining to gardening and landscaping. I’m learning so much and getting ideas of what I want to plant and how to get a lot in a small space. Dreaming and planning is so much fun and this is the perfect time of year to do it.


    1. Your comment reminded me of the alfalfa seeds stored in my kitchen. I am going to make a batch of sprouts! 🙂 And yes, dreaming about gardening is so fun!


  2. Maria

    I also save beautiful pictures I come across online in a file, spring pictures, fall pictures, flowers and gardens and beautiful houses. Sometimes I look through those pictures of sunlight and lovely places, and it is cheering on those gray days.


  3. Lillian

    I have two milk goats. Every day, I am forced to go outside to take care of them. Winter in Alaska can be brutal when its -20. I am not an outdoor person. I didn’t think I was an animal person. But the goats have been so good for me! Not to mention providing delicious milk for my family! I discovered I LOVE tending goats. And it gets me out of the house for some much needed fresh air. 🙂 Kidding season is something I look forward to. I felt like a little midwife last yr with my kidding bag as I assisted my goat. It was so stressful I had to rethink the whole goat thing. And than I decided it was worth it. 🙂


    1. Ruth

      Dad told me you were out milking the goat in the cold, with bare hands, when he was there. He seemed to think it was pretty amazing. 🙂 He also said you put the jar of milk in the snow to cool and that you told him sometimes you forget where you put it. That sounds like something i’d do. 🙂 My favorite easiest form of recreation in the winter is to take out the slop bucket after dark or at twilight and dump it over the fence. I get a brisk little walk in the cold, breathe some fresh air, escape the commotion in the house for a bit, look up at the stars, or enjoy the last colors of sunset. Nobody else seems to mind that they don’t get the privilege of dumping the slop bucket!


    2. I’m impressed that you venture into the cold to take care of animals! I’m dreaming of getting our own goats. 🙂 Milking probably gives you a little quiet time to think every day, which is hard for moms to get!


  4. Bertha

    Maybe you want to move to Oregon. Just about the time that it feels like winter is going to win, February comes along. We have rain rain rain for months and in Feb we get sunshine! And daffodils! After Feb, the rain comes back but there are more sunny days mixed in and it’s a bit warmer and there are flowers blooming and I know that once again I will survive winter.
    I think it helps me to take Vitamin D, and I really think it helps to keep fresh fruits and vegetables around for snacking. That may sound odd but hey, if it helps, I consider it a winner!


  5. I understand the brown, but in an entirely different context. Here in Thailand we are heading into the hot season. It hasn’t rained since November, (honestly I am not sure if that was the last time or not… but that’s usually when the last rainfall happens) and it probably won’t rain again until the middle of April or later. Burning is a huge thing in Thailand and neighboring Myanmar, so in addition to the brownness of the dying plants, there’s smog coating the world. With the heat and smog and brownness, it’s easy to get depressed. I compensate with swimming, doing a coffeeshop with AC and clean air, on the hottest days turning on the AC in our living room and pretending it’s winter, and most of all, going on hunts for beauty in the middle of the gray and brown. Taking pictures and writing poetry is therapeutic on those days. That and dreaming of rain.


  6. Pauline

    I read once that the winter season brings more clarity. The trees lose their leaves so you can see further. I’m not sure how that applies in the spiritual but maybe there tends not to be as many other distractions so we can hear God more clearly.


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