“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.