For many people, the thought of winter is intimidating, with the cold and blustery wind, frigid wind chills, and the desire to want to stay warm and cozy indoors. But for those of us who have always loved winter, especially when there is snow, there are so many outdoor activities that snow provides.
The first item up for question is snow gear. A warm coat, hat, and mittens are a must. Snow pants may help keep the chill away, and winter boots too. With our gear in place, we are ready to experience winter. Whether it is a crisp hike to the creek or a snowshoe trek through the woods, there is an activity for everyone; including winter bird watching.
Sledding is probably my favorite. I am not too old to enjoy a quick adventure down the hill! Ice skating is also popular. If you have never tried, you should. It is a world of difference from those of us who roller-skated or roller-bladed. And twirling in a circle is easier than it looks.
Ice hockey is an energetic sport that really gets the blood pumping; one would hardly know how cold it is when constantly moving, even though plumes of warm breath get caught in the frosty air. Fat tire biking is becoming increasingly popular. It involves riding a bike with wide tires on snowy trails. Of course, when we are granted enough snow, snow forts, snowball fights, and snow angels are all a part of the wintery fun too. And don’t forget about the snowmobiles and racing them through open fields (provided we have 6 or more inches of snow)! Cross country skiing is common, especially for people who live within a short distance from a park or trail. For those skaters who need to ride in the cold season, snowboarding is in order.
There are many heart and home projects to work on as well, such as chores to chop firewood, animals to care for in the cold weather, chopping wood for the fireplace, or making bird feeders for our feathery friends. Bird feeders can be made from a variety of items, such as pinecones and peanut butter, cup and saucer feeders, Crisco and birdseed suet, even everyday bird feeders stocked with sunflower seeds, thistle, mealworms, and oranges will keep birds and viewers silently entertained for long periods of time.
But for those of us who like to snuggle indoors with a good book, and warm blanket, and a cup of cocoa, the winter Olympics can be an outlet to live vicariously through the athletes as they battle for the best in their sport.
Still looking for a good book? At the library, we have resources for those of us who need some extra ideas and motivation to dive into winter fun. “Projects for winter & holiday activities” by Celia McInnes (j 745.5 McI) presents arts and crafts projects, recipes, games, and activities associated with the winter season. For the young at heart, “Frozen noses” by Jan Carr (j E Car) describes the delights of winter activities such as throwing snowballs, making a snowman, and going ice skating. If you are interested in reading about the natural changes during winter, the “Earth almanac: nature’s calendar for year-round discovery” by Ken Keffer (508.7 Kef) bases its content on phenology or the study of seasonal patterns in nature. The day-by-day descriptions offer insight into activities and connections throughout the natural world beginning with the Winter Solstice in December, with each season featuring more than 90 entries. Finally, for those who wish to cozy up with a book, we have a display on the second floor called “Cold and Wintery Reads” to satisfy your reading needs during the season.
The winter does not have to be long, dreary, and frozen. Winter can be a time to reflect on what we are thankful for, and that our short excursions outdoors during inclement weather will be short-lived as winter is always followed by spring. Stay warm but don’t forget to get some fresh cool air and catch a snowflake on your tongue when the first few snowflakes fly.
Stephanie Morrissette is a library assistant in the reference and local history department at the Crawfordsville District Public Library.
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