Most of the year when my family and I are out and about, I bring my point-and-shoot camera along to capture our adventures. In spring and summer, our photos are full of the deep saturated color of flowers, the lush green of kale and broccoli in our garden, blues and pinks from sidewalk chalk, and the buttery sunlight gilding everything. Fall brings us bright blue skies, and leaves of rich burgundy, yellow and orange.
But our long winters in the Midwest are so — in a word — pale. Sometimes we grow tired of all the greys and browns, the absence of color in the sky and on the ground.
Last winter I realized I had been leaving my camera at home, since I couldn’t summon up much excitement about taking pictures of the same grey skies, the same piles of snow with tufts of brown poking through. One weekend afternoon I resolved to do better. There’s got to be something to photograph, I thought to myself, and I tucked my camera deep into the pocket of my long down coat.
I walked into the backyard, enjoying the hush-hush sound of snowflakes drifting across my boots. I looked up and saw the weathervane on our garage, noticing the soft dome of snow on its top, the different shades of grey and silver in the sky, the paint, and the metal rooster.
The brightness of the berries on our tree outside was so much deeper with the backdrop of frozen snow and dark branches.
Later we went sledding at my in-laws’ farm. I began to notice how the absence of bright colors makes the different textures of the landscape more distinct—the stiff dark pine trees and the dried grasses contrasting beautifully against the soft pale tones of snow and sky.
We enjoyed sledding on a gentle hill at the farm, and the sun streamed through the trees, casting a pearly blue light over our path.
I took a break from sledding to look more deeply at the the plants, noticing how the layers of ice transformed them into prairie jewels.
We headed inside to warm up with some hot chocolate in front of the woodstove. I thought about how busy we are the rest of the year—hiking, splashing in pools, planting in our garden, always moving.
That afternoon I relished the content stillness among us, as we took time to savor the beauty of winter.
Alexandra White lives with her husband and two children in Northeast Iowa. She loves the bare beauty of winter and cozy time inside with her family. By day she works as an IT operations consultant, and by evening and weekend she enjoys cooking, photography, and crafts. She writes about her family’s adventures at her blog, Talleygilly.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.