I believe there is a particular welcome gesture in nature that announces another winter into the world. And if there is, it ought to be the nose-stinging coldness in the wind, a presence that makes breathing a painful chore. But like with all the challenges of life, you have to take it in, which is the only way to live a life of value. Winter season, to me, starts this way, with the chilling breeze preaching a stoic lecture on the struggles of life that are worthy of being undertaken. Every morning when I leave the comfort of my home to go to work, chill invades me wholly upon the opening of the front door. Listening to the click as the door shuts behind me, a surge of nostalgia fills my heart, momentarily reminding me of the warmth of the indoors, a comfort for which I have to wait till another evening, and work my way all through the day. Thus begin my mornings on any given weekday in the winters, with a tender fight between laziness and living.
As I walk along the pavement towards the tram-stop, I glance at the trees lined along the side of the bikers’ path, standing tall and stout. I see them slipping, with each passing day, into a calm slumber, like saints starting upon their meditation. As winter creeps upon the world, their leaves shed the green vigour little by little. Soon, as time for those leaves to depart from their shelters approaches, they adorn a yellow dryness upon themselves. And like that, one day they fall from their homes and become a carpet of nature for us to walk on. The trees are thus left barren and naked, and an aura of gloom reigns over them, covering all the signs of life from their branches for the rest of the season.
The look of these barren trees fills my heart with myriad emotions of dullness, as if the dreams of my life are at crossroads, as if they are lingering amid a confusion between abandonment and accomplishment. To make matters worse, the bright blue sky is replaced by a grey sadness, and daylight dims away from the world, as if the sun has gotten tired of us.
This is when the reality of winter is fully realized in my mind.
In this season, my insides are wired differently for the span of three cold months. All those multiple layers of clothing constrains me in many ways and makes me feel uneasy at times, especially when commuting. But it’s your responsibility towards yourself to be warm in a cold, stark world. When I think of it, it surprises me how true this is with the responsibilities of life itself. As you spend off your time year after year, and enter into the next seasons of your life, you grow more responsible towards everything that matters. Winter only mirrors this process, this cycle of life and its progress.
Daylight in winters seems to be too shy to present itself, and doesn’t really light up the sky until at least past 9 o’clock. But I can’t afford to wait for the sky to wish me a good morning. Hence, I wake myself up before the sun even opens his eyes to this side of the world, and walk out into the day and live it, or at least I try to.
But I still feel a strong presence of inactivity all around me. Nothing seems to be moving, all feels still and stagnant, as if the night doesn’t want to advance itself into a new day. The world seems so quiet in the winters, and I never yet clearly understood why. Perhaps it has to do with that feeling of stagnancy and slumber in the air. There seems to be an unshakable silence all around, which is sometimes soothing, and at other times, dejecting. Maybe this is nature’s way of telling us to explore the voices of our own hearts amid this hovering calmness of the season.
And then there is snow — that cold cotton tenderness falling out of the thin air above our heads… The place where I’m presently living at, Den Haag in The Netherlands, experiences snowfall only rarely, which is exactly what makes its arrival so special. It turns the city almost festive, especially in the eyes of children, and in mine. There is a mysterious bliss hidden in those moments that make you a child again, and a rare snowfall is surely one of them; at least to me it is.
Krishna Kanth is a writer from India who is presently living and working in The Netherlands. He writes fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and has a special place in his heart for literature that speaks of nature. The words of Henry David Thoreau from the pages of Walden had made him cognizant of our planet’s nature and its magnificent and unparalleled beauty. Ever since, it has become a vital purpose in his life to bring awareness about nature and its beauty to people through his writings. Some of his writings can be found in his new personal blog: www.hereiwrite.com.
Photos by the author