“Now is the winter of our discontent…”
You might recognize those words. They’re the opening lines of Shakespeare’s play, Richard III. A lengthy civil war has ended, and in a monologue, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, speaks of the return of peace. The quote continues, telling that the bitter winter has been “made glorious summer.”
That’s the thing with quotes about winter, I’ve found. They quickly move away from the cold and misery and turn instead to warmer, more pleasant thoughts of spring and summer.
Every winter for me is, in so many ways, a winter of discontent. Truly, I live in the wrong part of the country, and every winter I have to deal with snow, ice, and dangerously cold temperatures. Oh, I’m sure there are folks in more northern climes — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, upstate New York, the Canadians provinces — who are laughing and saying “You think it’s cold there?”
Well, yes, I do think it’s cold here. Current temperature is about 8 degrees Fahrenheit, which converts to -13 Celsius. No matter which system you use, either way, it translates to “miserable” in my language. The wind chill factor is about -25 Fahrenheit, and do you really want me to do the math? Cold is cold. No need to concern myself too much with numbers. -25 doesn’t sound much different from -31 regardless of the scale used.
Winter, however, is a time of beauty. No one can deny that winter scenes are often filled with a peaceful quality that soothes the spirit and calms the soul. Maybe it’s because everything slows down in the winter. At least, that’s how we like to think it is. In truth, things slow down only because they must, because it’s impossible to drive regular speeds on icy, snow-covered highways — although a number of idiots do seem hell-bent on trying it anyway — because trudging through a foot or more of snow requires more effort than many folks have, and because as much as possible, we tend to put things off for brighter, warmer, sunnier days. Sitting around the hearth with family is much more enjoyable than bundling up for a trip to the store, the post-office, or for appointments.
The beauty of winter is, indeed, often celebrated. If you like looking at it, you can find hundreds of glorious, snow-filled scenes like these:
A little looking will also turn up quotes about the season, and here, the beauty ends, and the true nature of winter comes blowing through. As I sit here shivering, staring out the window at the snow-covered landscape, listening all the while to the weather forecasters calling for more snow on Friday and throughout most of next week, let me share with you with a few thoughts, not on the serene, pristine beauty of winter, but on the fervent desire to have it over and done with.
If winter comes, can spring be far behind?
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
– Victor Hugo
In the depth of winter I finally learned, there was an invincible summer within me.
– Albert Camus
Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
-Charles G. Stater
In fairness to the season, I did find a few inspiring quotes about winter. Yes, I tend to focus on the discomforts, and yes, I know better. I know that changing my attitude would go a long way toward making the season more pleasant. Instead of thinking of the cold, I should think of the warmth of home and family. Instead of worrying about wind chill factors, I should be thankful for warm coats, boots, scarves, and mittens — and stay inside as much as possible.
So, let me leave you now with a bit of winter inspiration.
He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.
– John Burroughs
Or this simple thought:
One kind word can warm three winter months.
Whatever else we do today, let’s speak that one kind word. We may not be able to change the weather outside, but we can warm the heart.