For several wintery months, the sun’s path remains hidden behind mountains. It now rises a little higher each day, creeping farther around craggy mountains and creating an ever-changing light show. This is a season when I savour the remaining winter days while anticipating spring. It’s a time of rising hope, a time to dream, and a time to celebrate today.
Lengthening winter days tell of life’s rhythms, seasons, and slow transformations. Snow changes as days grow warmer, and new birds arrive. Hares soon shift from white to brown camouflage. Moonlight glitters on fresh white snow, an owl soundlessly swoops overhead. Wind moves softly through trees toward innumerable stars in the night sky.
These are the stories I tell. Humans as part of nature. Learning and experiencing from people I meet. Breathing fresh mountain air. Slowing down to enjoy and celebrate everyday joys and victories. Stories of science, sustainability, and stewardship, illustrated with pen and paint on paper.
It is in slowing that we see what wonderful gifts are found around us. There is so much beauty here, if I am willing to open my eyes and look around. The never-ending display of shifting clouds, veiling and revealing the mountains outside my window; northern lights, ephemeral and mysterious; a moose grazing on lichen as I wander on my showshoes amidst the trees. They all help me appreciate this world with simple, child-like wonder.
This wonder is found when I attempt an endeavour without expectation, when I experience an event without entitlement to an anticipated outcome. Simplicity is learning about and engaging with ideas and people who inspire me. Think back to when you were a child. What would you talk about all day? Dinosaurs, planets, all the bugs you discovered outside; writing stories about dragons; crafting a seamless paper aeroplane… What if we brought this back as adults, the pursuit of activities that light up our day.
We are influenced by so much in life. Brighten someone’s day: Listen to their story about planets, bugs, dragons. Find someone who will, in turn, hear about your pursuits. The book you are writing; the child you are nurturing; the hopes, dreams, and celebrations you are experiencing today.
The sacred is in the ordinary… It is to be found in one’s daily life;
in neighbours, in friends, in one’s own backyard.
-Abraham Maslow (Motivation and Personality)