How I beat the winter ‘blues’

The weather is awful, yes really – words with the weight of a thousand pounds litter the news cycles. Wondering what these words are? How about ‘polar vortex’ for starters? It sounds frightening. It is frightening. During the past few weeks, it has hit me that I do actually live in the Great White North. Temperatures touch minus twenty-three, and we’re told, with the windchill, it feels like minus thirty. Great swooshing winds blow the snow around. At the end of the driveway, mountains of snow grow higher every day. Few people brave the roads. The dreaded flu runs rampant through my city.

Most days, I wake up to a grey woolly sky sagging at the seams. Not a shred of green is to be seen anywhere. There is a blanket of snow in the backyard, all the pots are buried in the white stuff. The thin branches of my lilac stretches out its arms appealingly. The empty bird feeders swing in the bone-chilling wind. No birds visit my garden and the bird-bath sports a fat hat of snow. Icicles dangle from the edge of the gazebo where we spent our summer evenings. The sturdy spruce has kept its colour, true, but there is snow huddling in its recesses, like deeply felt pain.

Mind you, it’s not without a certain kind of beauty.

There is a hush, a pristine cleanliness almost, that envelopes the landscape. Specially when, after a few days, the sun decides to take pity on us. From inside the warm house my eyes are dazzled, and I can actually see the different shades of white.

Front of my home

Speaking of shades and colours, I’m sure you’ve noticed my Instagram feed these days. Yes, I’ve taken up art-making seriously and am trying to teach myself how to draw and paint. It’s a long journey, but as Lao Tzu said: “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”

Snow covered outdoors
“Yellow house on the hill”

For the time being, I’m concentrating on the joy of line, form and colour. I’m noticing light and shadow more intently. Skies look different to me depending on the time of day, or night. There is a definite and palpable happiness that permeates my hours as I contemplate my next drawing. I have freed myself from expectation however. Nothing will kill this serene vibe faster than assumptions of ‘success’.

“Through the gate”

So I just….draw and paint! Thank you for joining me on this journey.


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