Why Winter is Beautiful…

I don’t remember a Winter quite as bitter and cold as this one. Having said that, I do remember saying the same thing last year. It’s what most of us do every year when the sun sits lower in the day and nighttime is with us before the 6 o’clock news. Yes, it’s winter and no-one likes to be cold. However, I want to share some reasons why we should embrace the beauty of Winter, and consider some of the benefits this glorious season brings.

I learned to love winter when I lived in the Middle East. We enjoyed perfect weather 9 months of the year – never a cloud in the sky, always near-perfect conditions to be outdoors and most nights we socialised under a clear, starry sky. They were good times, and our cold days were never below 24.

Whilst these times were a ‘living-the-dream’ kind of arrangement, I realised that year to year, something quite fundamental was missing. We were healthy, warm, always active, yet we didn’t really notice the seasons. Somehow, I’d lost perspective of the seasonal changes that tend to define us and encourage us to develop patterns and routine in a way we don’t realise. Seasons give us a reason to appreciate –our sub-conscious tells us to enjoy the great days more andaccept the not-so-great, but show gratitude for the fact that we have days to live.

At Swan Bay Farm, we’ve experienced many peaks and troughs through our farming endeavours, but the one thing we rely on is four seasons a year. It’s how we grow food, how we rear and manage our livestock, it’s necessary for us when managing our soils, supporting our animals through their birthing and mothering periods. It’s necessary for us to follow Mother Nature’s cycle and be guided by her next move.

So let me tell you why winter is beautiful …

1. Crisp, Invigorating, Fresh …

Whilst it may initially hit you hard (so to speak), that cold, crisp, fresh air that first touches your skin is the moment you realise you’re alive – no sluggishness, no flat feeling or weary bones, but true ‘in-the-moment’ mindful awareness that you’re alive and (hopefully) well.

2. One of Nature’s Spectacles …

Take the time to look at the beauty in deciduous trees – also consider their annual cycle. Without winter, we wouldn’t have the pleasure of their spectacle in the Spring, Summer and (the best time) – Autumn.

3. Even Nature needs a Break …

Consider Winter to be nature’s annual leave. It was only when we planted our fruit orchard that it dawned on me Mother Nature also needs a break. This year, Autumn seemed to go AWOL in Melbourne and Winter hit us hard and fast. As a result of this unusual transition between the seasons, deciduous trees are still trying to shed their leafy Summer coats and shut down long enough to rest, in anticipation of their most intensive growth period of the year, when leaves return, fruit starts to bud and grow and trees are using the best part of their stored energy to deliver its best.

4. The best days are in Winter …

A perfect, sunny day in Winter we notice more than any other time of the year. It’s therefore a time to appreciate those things that we might otherwise take for granted when they’re always readily available to us. Seriously, how good does that sunny day with a perfect blue sky feel?

5. Comfort Food …

One of life’s greatest culinary pleasures is the indulgence of ‘comfort food’. Enough said.

6. Open Fires …

Who doesn’t love a warm and cosy open fire? The feeling of that heat melting the internal cold away, keeping you safe, secure and always in need of a nice glass of red.

7. Remember those who don’t have the creature comforts …

Let’s put it into perspective. In Melbourne alone, there are 100,000 people living on the streets, without food, shelter, warmth, that feeling of genuine love and affection from another human being, or a key that opens a front door to a place to call home. We might be cold, we might have ailments, personal and physical challenges, but on the whole, life’s pretty good.

8. Watch Nature return …

With every season, another follows. After every Winter comes the Spring – another awesome time of year to enjoy the outside world. In Spring, we look forward to Summer. After a long Summer, we look forward to some cooler weather and have the colourful show of Autumn, which brings us back to the incredibly appealing time of year we now fondly refer to as Winter.

And not a word about skis and snow…