Winter is generally no ones favorite season.
I used to be one of those rare winter lovers. That was when I skied regularly and before I had my horses at home.
The chores are, at a minimum, 10x more difficult. The days are short and the darkness makes me want to hibernate.
Hauling water and keeping it thawed, frequent checks on hay supply, bringing horses in, letting horses out, blanketing, frozen poo, frozen bedding, frozen fingers...actually frozen everything.
But, my, it's beautiful.
What I've learned, especially from working with horses, is that it's important to be present in every moment and appreciate (rather than wish away) every day (even those with 3F winter temperatures).
I was always intrigued by the winter solstice. This year, it really struck me after reading a post from an inspirational horse trainer I've recently started following, Megan Brauch of Narnia Stables.
For me, she sums it up perfectly:
"The first day of winter is here tomorrow. For many, winter is not a favorite time of year. Cold weather, snow and ice, and short days make things more challenging and for sure, care of the animals and farm life is more difficult in the winter months.
"I use to dread winter and it will never be my favorite season, but I've learned to embrace this time of year. There's a certain mindfulness to appreciating what's here in the present moment and to celebrating the natural ebb and flow of life and the changing seasons, which are so crisp here in New England.
"For me winter is a little quieter time of year and I might actually get the opportunity to curl up on the couch with my dogs, a hot cup of tea, and a good book on a cold winter's day. I can appreciate a good gallop through the fresh snowfall, and warming up my frozen fingers and toes by the fire afterwards. For every shovelful of snow I move, I also appreciate the sweet warmth and ease of the care of the animals in the summer months. As the winter solstice is upon us tomorrow, I celebrate light. It will be our shortest day of the year, but now we slowly make our way back to longer days, light summer evenings where I can ride outside until late in the evening.
"For now, I will not complain about the cold, but will enjoy the time where there are no bugs to pester my horses, when their fluffy coats are so warm and fuzzy to snuggle up in and provide me with perfect warmth in a nice bareback ride. Remember my friends, embrace the season, be aware of what magnificent things that nature surrounds us with here and now, and enjoy the present moment. Much love to you all! Meg, Luther, and all the creatures of Narnia #wintersolstice #ebbandflow #embracethepresent #lifeinnarnia"
After reading Meg's post I sat and felt great a sense of gratitude for all I have, regardless of the temperature.
So I will try to remind myself everyday to be present, be grateful, and to look forward to the light.