The Beastly Month

Winter comes in gradually where I live. Early autumn brings hazel colored light, long shadows, blazing red and yellow leaves, and a crispness to the air that feels most welcome after a summer of heavy, sticky heat. By Thanksgiving, the ground is (hopefully) frozen and mornings arrive with a soft frost over the grass and bare branches. The sky, when it’s clear, turns a milky blue, and the chill of the wind strengthens it’s bite. By Christmas, we (usually) have snow, and the heaps of white reflect the glow of streetlights and helps to make the deep darkness of the evenings feel a bit more soft and gentle.

January is when the hammer drops. January is a cold, hard, beast of a month.

As a lifetime Minnesota girl, I’ve come to know this cycle well. Yet, only over the past few years have I started to learn how to relish the stillness and peace that come with winter, particularly after the glitter of the holidays has settled.

On the coldest days, when the sun is shining, it’s like you’ve never seen the anything so brilliant. Standing in it, drinking it up, is like pouring water down into the thirstiest part of your soul.


I got home from work a little early today, just in time to catch the sun as it crept out of the clouds on it’s way to a pink sunset. I live close enough to the Mississippi River to walk to it’s bank, one of my favorite places in the entire city, so I scrambled out the door to get there in time to soak up the last bits of light.

You know what I realized on my way?

The days are getting longer.

I didn’t need to scramble. I didn’t need to rush.

I lingered on the bridge, on the highest point of the arch, where the fierce river wind was whipping but the sunshine was strong. I stood there for awhile, taking turns looking down at the half-frozen water, upstream towards the city skyline, and back to the sun, whole and wide in the January sky.

I couldn’t have asked for anything more satisfying.

Back down by the bank of the river, shielded from the wind, I stood on the frozen spaces between the rocks. The ice creaked and moaned. The city sounds were muffled. The light had faded to a pale grey.


These moments are the generous, comforting, soft pockets that get me through the raw Minnesota winters.

There’s a Canadian front coming in next week, and we are looking at highs of -3 F. I’m praying for some sunshine.2013-01-16_1358376035

Do you live where it’s cold during the winter months? What’s your tonic to the winter winds?Β 

9 thoughts on “The Beastly Month

  1. Katie, this is soo beautifully written. πŸ™‚ I love the way you capture your surroundings in your words.
    My tonic to our winter has changed since having my little Vayda. I no longer dred the snow… Instead I smile knowing endless hours of making snow men and sledding are in my future. Nothing makes me happier than spending time playing outside with my beautiful happy girl that LOVES the snowy cold.

    • Oh, Katie. Hearing your stories of motherhood make me SO excited to someday be a Mamma. I’m so glad that she gets you out into the snow and that her energy brings such joy to your world. I just love you and your little family. ❀

  2. What beautiful pictures and so poignantly written! Making use of that camera the parents have been waiting for you to use πŸ™‚
    Goodness, I can’t imagine a cold winter like you describe. The world shuts down when the South gets snow. Which we might be getting tonight! My excitement is electric. Haha, yep, that’s a normal reaction to snow down here.
    I usually beat the “cold” with a hot drink and space heater. I’m seriously intolerant.

    Thank you for this happy message on a gray morning!

    • I grew up with these winters, so I’m so used to them – but the cold front we are expecting this weekend could be brutal.
      I’m excited to hear that you might be getting snow! Maybe you’ll get a day off work?! I would be giddy, too! Keep me posted!
      p.s. I use a space heater all morning at work, and at home I wear thick wooly socks pulled up to my calves. No shame to our game!

  3. It’s been FRIGID in Park City but is starting to warm up a tad. And by “warm up” I mean it’s in the 20s. Thankfully, we still have lots of SUNSHINE. It’s my long winter remedy. Hot tea, slippers, throw blankets, the fireplace… those are things I miss in summertime, so I try to appreciate them now during their proper season!

    • Yes! It’s warming up to 37 tomorrow, and then plummeting on Sunday and Monday. Eeeks! Your home looks soooo cozy, Amber. Those huge windows and that fireplace were made for winter. But, as we both know, a trip to the beach always helps, too! Enjoy your (relative) warmth in the coming days!

      • Thank you- it IS cozy in here! The walls are super thick (part of the LEED certification stuff) so it’s well insulated. The fireplace helps, too! I hope you enjoy your 37 degrees as much as possible and bundle up the rest of the week! πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: The One About Humbling Beginnings and Blog Awards «Raw Milk Marathon Raw Milk Marathon

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