“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead”. – Katrina Kenison
As I opened my inbox this morning and saw that the topic for the Weekly Photo Challenge was solitude, I could hardly believe my eyes. Ironically, solitude is something I have been spending a great deal of time thinking about the past couple of weeks as the depths of winter carries on.
As I run around my favorite urban lake or walk the dog upon its frozen ice, I am aware of how alone I am as Minnesotans go into their traditional winter hibernation. Only the real diehards like me are out every single day in the cold, and at times it feels bittersweet.
I miss the movement of people, the voices, and the noise. At times I feel lonely wishing more people would be out like they are on a beautiful summer day. But then I snap out of it and realize there is beauty and strength in solitude. I just need to embrace it. I remember my favorite quote and think of winter solitude differently.
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer”. – Albert Camus
For me, solitude represents peace. A restful state of mind where I am perfectly at ease with being alone and enjoying it. Being a huge extrovert, it is rare that I find solitude indoors especially when I am alone. It is when I’m outside embracing the beauty of nature, that I truly find it and feel alive. It is when I’m walking, running, skiing or snowshoeing. It is when I’m listening to the sounds of the birds sing. It is feeling the cold sun on my face and realizing that it won’t be much longer until the rebirth of spring arrives. But until then, I must find solitude in the cold, dark days of winter and remember the sun is rising earlier each day.
“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter”. – John Burroughs
Winter solitude can be found after a fresh coat of white, pure snow.
Or it can be found witnessing the steam rising off the lake before it freezes over on a very cold day. (It was -20 zero F on this day and I saw a mere three brave souls but it was worth getting these amazing shots!).
And if I must be inside, I can find winter solitude curled up next to a fire at night playing a board game with my daughter and enjoying a glass of red wine. Or curled up in bed reading a book. As I long for spring, I remind myself to not wish my time away and enjoy the last two months of winter’s solitude.
This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude.
I’m with you on preferring outdoor solitude to indoor…
Great! I’m not alone! 🙂
I totally love this post of yours. And the photos!
Thank you so much!
those boots are precious! wow, they brought an instant smile to my face! that final photo is stunning.. comforting…
enjoy your solitude, as that’s when we hear the whisperings of mother nature…
Thanks Lisa! I LOVE my fun boots. They brighten up my day. And yes, listening to the
whisperings of mother nature is lovely. 🙂
Fantastic photos. Thank you for sharing your journey through life in your part of the world.
Thanks and glad you liked the post!
Please, please, please, send us some of that snow!! I’m a mostly-extrovert who relishes, needs, and seeks out solitude. I remember when we lived in Cleveland and had our first rescue dog. She and I were out every single day for long walks. During the cold and snowy winter, we were often the only people/dogs out. 🙂
Ha ha…well some of the snow pictures I used were from a different winter! We had a ton of snow early on and now there is just this icy stuff left. The lake however seems to still have some snow on it. I desperately want more snow! I love snow! Yes, sometimes I do need solitude but a lot of time I like to be around people. I think it is because I have a lot of alone time during the week now that the kids are in school.
Beautiful pictures! Looks like there is some good thing about solitude!
Thanks Arv! I’m trying. 🙂
I love your images and your meditations on this topic. One of my favorite things about winter in Minnesota is the relative silence — especially after a heavy snow. It sounds silly when I put it in writing, but being alone with nature reminds me that I am a *part* of nature … just another little animal scurrying among the trees. It’s good every so often to remove ourselves from the human world and to immerse ourselves in nature.
That is such a beautiful way to think of it! That one is “part” of nature. I love that concept and will think about it a little more tomorrow during my morning walk with the dog. And for the silence, yes that is something that is true. I heard some birds today and it was really nice. Made me smile.
Some wonderful captures here – clearly solitude works for you!Beautifully done.
Thanks Tina! Well, I’m not sure about that. I struggle with solitude in a way being such an extrovert. But I try my best! 🙂 I do find a lot of peace however in a winter run. Walking however is lonely when no one is out.
What a beautiful way to think about solitude… (Although I can’t believe more people don’t want to get out and about in that gorgeous scenery!)
Thanks so much Emily! Well, it gets very cold here in the Winter so I think a lot of people just don’t want to brave the cold. I just dress in lots of layers and wear my snow pants and keep my face warm. I couldn’t survive without getting out!
I like your solution to this challenge and the last photo of the snow-covered tree by the lake is my favorite. It could be a sunrise or a sunset and neither one would make it any better. Congrats on a stunning image.
Thanks so much! Winter gets long here. I took that last photo back in December. It was really cold but worth it! 🙂
Very much worth it.
Beautiful as always
Beautiful images, Nicole. Your boots are stunning. Love them. 😍
Thanks Sylvia! Winter is wearing on but it is supposed to be almost 50 Friday! It will feel tropical for us!!!
Those boots are super awesome. I love the design on it 🙂
Thanks! They are lots of fun!
I adore this post Nicole. Your images and your lovely narrative that takes us full circle on your feelings of solitude are stunning. I enjoy solitude to hear myself think and so this resonated with me very much.
Thanks Di! I am starting to feel burnt out with winter. I embrace it but after a while it gets tough and I can’t wait until everyone is back outside again. So keep sending your beautiful instagram reminders about gratitude. It really helps! 🙂
I can imagine the cold winter would become a challenge as time goes on Nicole.
Our days are getting shorter so I’m sending the sun your way as fast as I can..👌
Thank you for your kind compliments too… I really appreciate them my friend.
Thank you Di! Yes, today it is VERY VERY cold but tomorrow it will be about 50 degrees F warmer! Isn’t that crazy? I am tired of the cold. Me and the kids are going to Arizona next week to visit my parents and I can hardly wait!!!!
Oh that sounds lovely Nicole. I believe from my school days that it is very warm there in Arizona!
Enjoy your trip 🌹🌹
Thanks Di! We leave on Wednesday! Very excited. 😌
Winter walks with a four-legged companion are the best ways to embrace those times you need to disconnect.
Yes. I’ve decided I need to disconnect a lot more lately. I was getting really worked up with everything as I know you can relate. So I’ve taken a step back and feel much better.
Self-care is important, too — balance helps you stay more productively engaged.
Yes, I went to yoga yesterday Kat and I couldn’t believe how much it helped! I also decided to have a fundraising party with friends to celebrate International Women’s Day March 8th.
Loving the Albert Camus quote.
Thanks! It is one of my favorite quotes.
Thank you so much!
What beautiful pictures! And perfect post going with it. Thanks, you made my day!
Oh thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂
Winter is so big there! And so is your cute dog! Sometimes I miss a big snow, the quiet and the solitude of walking in crunching snow and catching snowflakes on my tongue. But, only for a day. lol
Yes I think I won’t miss winter much once I live somewhere warmer…I do love to ski though.
We live in such a similar climate Nicole. I was tromping about down at the river today taking some photos and it truly looks like we could live next door. Beautiful captures!
Yes we do Sue! Problem is we have not had much snow so it has been a bit disappointing. It looks like you have had quite a bit in Calgary (based on all the IG accounts based in Calgary that I follow including yours!).
Thanks for the awesome pictures. Sometimes i do my best thinking and find inspiration when it is just me and nature. It is refreshing to get away from everything and just be by yourself. Thanks again.
Yes me too. That is why I love to run and take long walks before I write. It helps me sort through everything. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Love Love Love the pictures! We moved to Minneapolis a year ago and after seeing about 2 winters now, we seem to be falling in love with this place! Love the snow shining in the bright Minnesota sun! Loved your blog 🙂
Thank you! Where do you live in Minneapolis? Where are you originally from? I’ve always been in the Midwest. I especially love our fall and summers here!
This sounds so inviting to me right now! Fabulous photos!
Thanks LuAnn! 😊
We’ve been in the throws of snowstorms after storms in Leominster; it is lovely and scary and sad as our cupboard is nearly empty and unsure of next paycheck. Simply sharing difficult times amidst a snowstorm. Take care and thanks for sharing.
Take care of yourself and seek help if you need it. There are plenty of people out there that are happy to help.
I agree with the quote that winter is just as beautiful as summer. It is even more beautiful on the day it snows and flakes are on every tree branch and the smallest twigs. That is breath taking! It only lasts a short time here in PA.
Very true! 🙂
These pictures are amazing. I visited Minnesota a long time ago, but it was summer then. Seeing these beautiful pictures makes me want to go back even more. Thank you so much and lovely greetings from Germany. ❤️
Thank you so much! Yes winters are long but they can be quite beautiful.
breathtakingly beautiful images Nicole 🙂
Thank you Andrew!
Love the pictures! This year hasn’t been as bad as most when it comes to snow. The deep cold and wind is a totally different story.
Yes we have had a pretty easy winter this year. I would have preferred a bit more snow but oh well. Glad we just got a nice coating yesterday!