It's already the depth of winter here in Minnesota. Not to worry; we're hearty souls. Generally, we don't let that stop us from enjoying life, even life outdoors—which, by the way, even at minus twenty is still full of great beauty and life.
A person's need for discovery and wonder
doesn't get left at the door like the parka
below-zero wind chills conspire with the sun's quitting at 4:30 to make
us spend far more time cooped up inside than we do in the summer.
Sometimes we have no choice but to hunker down for a couple of days and
wait out a blizzard and the arctic deep freeze that so often follows.
a person's need for discovery and wonder doesn't get left at the door
like the parka and boots. Even indoors we're curious; our child side
still needs to play, learn and experience delight.
course, there's always TV, a good book or the Internet to help pass the
long, dark hours. But these, I submit, are remote, second-hand
experiences. They may entertain or inform us, but do they really nourish a
curious soul in the here and now?
Even indoors I'm always surprised and
delighted at how many real-life, present-moment natural wonders await
discovery when I'm willing to look with care. Here are just a few
the strokes and patterns; marvel at the
feathered crystalline brushwork;
the artist determined where each element in
Could there be a more elegant artistic expression than the
crystalline masterpieces Nature renders with water? Outdoors, of course,
it’s snow; whether seen as flake
or drift, it's the most sublime of
sculptures. Indoors, though, relegated to the two-dimensional “canvas”
of frozen glass, she once again outdoes herself.
Look closely at frost;
study the strokes and patterns; marvel at the feathered crystalline
brushwork; imagine how the artist determined where each element in the
composition would go. Touch it; see how ephemeral it is. See if you can
it without quite touching it.
Perhaps the one
thing that changes most when our world moves indoors is our appreciation
of things that live and grow. Instead of marveling at trees, shrubs or
flowers in their natural, wild setting, we devise ways to shrink,
capture and confine them in pots that clamber close to windows. Try not
to take them for granted. These plants, for their staunch, surrogate
duty, are all the more worthy of our notice.
our indoor animal fix, we turn from summer's chancy thrill of spotting
critters in their own realms and on their own terms to the certainty of
specimens we've shaped to our convenience, bred to need no more than our
care and attention. Take advantage of these most opportune occasions to
relish your closeness to these dear creatures.
subtle white, comet-tail streaks that suggest
the seeds have streaked
out from center. And there
they’ve landed, on the vivid, glossy surface of the
fruit, each cupped in its own tiny crater.
Instead of discovering a strange new fruit or nut on a
wild plant somewhere in the woods, we learn in winter to explore things
closer at hand, perhaps things so common we never thought to look at
them with wonder. For example, have you stopped to appreciate the
elegance of line, color, form and texture in a freshly sliced
See how the flesh morphs from furry, white, womb-like core
into sweet, solid crimson. Note the subtle white, comet-tail streaks
that suggest the seeds have streaked out from center. And there they’ve
landed, on the vivid, glossy surface of the fruit, each cupped in its
own tiny crater.
Would you agree that discovery and
wonder need not be lost on the homebound? See if you can find "wild"
living critters like meal worms, spiders or perhaps the occasional
holdover ladybug. See what you can discover about another person.
with soap bubbles or static electricity. Explore the attic. Cook
something. Try to...ah-h-h...wait a second...whoa-a-a!...I'm sorry, I
have a fire going in the fireplace, and there's this...amazing bright
blue...tongue of flame…