winter's flowers

For some time now, I have been admittedly not a fan of the winter. I grew up in Ohio, a place where the winter wind bites, where roads are icy and an extra 15 minutes is needed every morning in order to defrost the car. To be honest, the winter was one of the biggest reasons I moved to California after graduating from college. I happily donated all of my winter wear and I vowed to never live somewhere that was cold ever again.

Fast forward a couple years and the joke is on me as I now live in Canada. The winter on the west coast is mild, pleasant actually, but it's no California… and I am learning to love it. I have been spending a lot of time recently reflecting on the reasons for my disdain for the chilly months and I have come to the realization that it comes down to our lifestyle. Our society expects that we operate at the same pace year round. That means waking up long before the morning breaks, commuting on unsafe roads and coming home when the night has already fallen. In our busyness, we miss the beauty of winter. The barren trees, the flowers that have gone to seed, the tiny tracks in the snow and the need to come together, to share warmth, food and company. 

I was reminded of this more than ever yesterday as my friend Marla and I decided to get outside and do some foraging. Having bits of the outside world in my home is so important to me and while flowers from the local florist would be beautiful, I appreciate the often overlooked flowers of the past much more. Driving through the backcountry roads, we spotted a marsh full of teasel. Their long stocks  and cone seed pod were reaching high towards the sky as if they were saying, "I'm here, pick me." So we did. They are dry, not fragrant, a bit sharp, muted in colour. They are winter and I am thankful to be reminded of that every time I look at them.