“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our own standing in our own sunshine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

For some reason, the start of January is always the hardest time for me. After the whirlwind craziness of fall and the holidays, I generally feel a huge letdown after it is all over and the cold, dark shadows of a Minnesota winter set in. January is normally our coldest month. Coldness that is meant to endure and toughen us up.

As many Minnesotans hunker down and settle into hibernation mode, I try my best to bundle up and get outside as much as possible. I crave sunlight and the outdoors. When I start getting a bit of the winter blues, I remind myself that it is time to get outside! I find if I put on a pair of long johns, snow pants, and a big, eskimo style coat then I’m all set. The one benefit of living in an arctic place is that generally we are blessed with amazing, brilliant sunshine in the winter. Although the days are short, at least they are almost always bright.

My shadow and I on a cold winter's day.

My shadow and I on a cold winter’s day.


Shadows can be found everywhere on a cold, sunny day. They look gorgeous as they bounce of a fresh coat of winter snow.

Today, on my walk around the lake as the mercury dipped below zero and the fierce winds chilled my cheeks, I remembered my favorite quote and reflected on the beauty of the shadows wavering off the bare trees. It was spectacular.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow”. – Helen Keller

Lake Harriet, Minneapolis MN

The empty park in the midst of January

Helen Keller’s words of wisdom touch deeply within my soul as I crave for sunlight, warmth and color. Despite being blind, Keller was able to see the light in her life. Her words remind me to be positive even with it is cold and dark outside and I am feeling the seasonal sadness that I often get this time of year. If it is an especially bitter and cold day, I remember to reach for the sunshine that is within myself. Just like the seasons, this too shall pass.

Lake Harriet, Minneapolis MN

As the month rolls on, each day we receive the gift of a few extra minutes of light. Pretty soon I won’t have to put on my sunlamp in the morning or take my vitamin D pill. I will  receive all I need from Mother Earth.

“Never fear shadows. They simply mean that there is a light shining somewhere nearby.” – Ruth Renkel

Lake Harriet, Minneapolis MN

I do love winter yet I also find it hard. It can be very long here in Minnesota, sometimes starting in November and not letting up to April. Thus I try to brighten my life with colors such as a fun pair of boots like below or a vibrant red hat or scarf. I take in a deep breath on the hard days and remember that before I know it, summer will be here and I’ll be hot, sweaty and thinking about winter again.





This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed. To see more entries click here. I am busy working on organizing my photos from my December trip to Bolivia. I will have lots of bright and colorful posts to share so stay tuned! 


    • Yes, it can get hard. Our winter is just so long. I do love winter but January means there is still a lot of it left and it has been really cold. I’m hoping it warms up a little bit soon! 🙂

  1. I know what you mean about the winter blues…it doesn’t quite get that cold here, but still, the short days are hard, and I look forward to the longer days with much more daylight. I like your empty park shots and the tree shadows, Nicole 🙂 — sooner than we think, there will be children out and families enjoying the park once again.

    • Thanks Lola Jane! Yes, the lack of sunlight is hard. It is so dark in the morning and dark in the afternoon. I can’t imagine living in Iceland or a place like that with only a few hours of daylight a day! I’d much rather have the cold. 🙂

    • I’ve heard that you are having a warm winter. We have had winters without snow and it actually is terrible. The kids can’t play and we can’t snowshoe or sled. So I’d rather have snow I guess! 🙂

  2. In South Africa we are braving sweltering summer heat, interspersed by tropical rain showers that don’t do much to bring relief. Last year January I was visiting my daughter in Pennsylvania – my first ever snow! It was magical…Thank you for the beautiful photos.

    • Well that puts things into perspective! It is hard when it is too hot too. The snow is beautiful and it is warming up this week which makes me really happy! 🙂 Glad you got to experience snow! It is gorgeous isn’t it?!

      • I don’t really have words to describe my excitement and awe when I saw those flakes whirling through the air. It does pose logistical problems – slippery freeways are really scary! – but I just loved it.

  3. wow whenever ya lewk down ya can lewk up an smile … 😎
    cuz u wear “HappyBootZ” LoL very kewl. stay warm yes indeed, snow snow snow everywhere here lol….. Q

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