'Every mile is two in winter' ( George Herbert)
In winter you need more clothes - which involves more laundry and more time needed to get dressed and undressed. More heating is needed - which requires more money and time and if like us you have a fire, more effort. As there is less daylight, there is more urgency to get things done while it is still daylight. Mornings are cold and uninviting, so it is a struggle to get out of bed. If there's been a frost overnight, again there is time and effort required to scrape ice off the windscreen.
Overall winter can be a bit of a slog.
However, despite all that, I still like winter for its chance to scurry away and semi-hibernate - scale down, pull the curtains, eat hot food like soup, macaroni cheese, toast; to listen to the rain on the roof, wear hats and gloves and scarves and go for fighting-fresh, bitter, brisk walks.
The landscape is more dramatic too, with the deciduous trees bare and dark against a grey sky, the groundcover thin; mud and earth showing through scarce strands of grass. Snow-covered mountains, orange willows, icy blue lakes and heavy seas white with the froth of winter storms.
I have a dear friend who writes beautiful descriptive letters (yes some of us still write letters) extolling virtues of each season. She is a gardener by inclination and occupation and so she knows the seasons off by heart and hand. Her celebration of each season over the years has heightened the changes for me too. She talks of winter being a time of restoration - when nature retrenches and retracts and slowly, quietly builds up its sap and energy for the sudden explosion of growth in spring.
Winter can be a chance then for us to do the same. To slow down and reflect and restore our energies. (Store our sap!) I do try, but more often get caught up in doing things. Sometimes I can feel busier in winter than summer. I can get caught out by the illusion that there is nothing better to do with my time and so take on extra commitments, ending up far too busy to enjoy the long, dark evenings. (Although as I get older, I notice I am getting wiser to this.)
In a way I envy animals who hibernate. What a delicious thing, to sleep the winter away! Yet at the same time I'd hate to miss out the particular thrills winter gives us - red berries against a stone wall; small flowers that keep on blooming through the cold. The glee of waking up to snow - or standing in the middle of its cold rush as flakes swirl under moonlight, or a streetlight, in a crazy, hypnotic dance. The fresh-air smell of frost on a winter's morning; iced-over puddles smashed into a spider-web pattern by the heel of a child. Fireside moments.
Once upon a time before my wider girth became an issue - or more than likely the result of such excesses - ABM and I would roast and salt some peanuts, mull some red wine, break open a bar of chocolate and settle down to a cosy winter's night indoors watching videos. Ah! Bliss!
And that's given me a most wicked idea for a treat for us both this weekend. After all - winter seems to go hand-in-hand with wicked - well, if nothing else, at least it's alliterative.