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Snowball fights are one way to enjoy the seemingly endless winter season. (credit: Jonathan Carreon/Photo Staff) Snowball fights are one way to enjoy the seemingly endless winter season. (credit: Jonathan Carreon/Photo Staff)
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The long winter days can be tiresome — trudging through the snow with a runny nose, chapped lips, hands stuffed in pockets, and wind piercing through jackets and sweaters. The sky, always a dull gray or pearly white sheet, mirrors the layers of powdery snow below. There is not even one glimpse of the sun. The winter months are particularly trying, almost depressing.

Yet there is also something enchanting about the winter, despite its harshness. There is that excitement in the air when awaiting the first snowfall of the season — a lingering expectation. There is that sense of pure joy upon catching a snowflake on a gloved hand and watching its unique pattern wilt into the fabric. There is that feeling of warmth upon drinking a cup of coffee while struggling through the snow and the wind, clasping the hot cup in frozen hands. This is when winter is beautiful.

It is the beauty of winter that helps with overcoming its very harshness. It is the time to recall snowball fights and sledding and snow angels. It is the time for folly rather than seriousness — a brief, secondary childhood. It is the time to remember the sensation of molding fluffy snow into tiny balls, poised to throw them at others in merriment. It is the time to recollect the feeling of slipping and sliding through the soft, moist snow on a sled or on a tray or with a trash bag, with the air whooshing past with great fury. It is a time of creativity, shaping snowmen from powder and using peppers, carrots, and olives for its smiling face.

However, why is it so hard to throw off the mask of propriety, of seriousness, of adulthood, in favor of becoming a child once more? There is that lack of spontaneity and wonder as reality creeps through childhood dreams and fantasies — the reality of responsibility. It is for this reason that this is the season to rediscover those youthful notions, to become nostalgic for those enjoyments and amusements.

Memory has that strange way of dulling the unpleasant while emphasizing the pleasures of the past. It is for this reason that it is so important to live within the present, to embrace all the possibilities of a winter day, despite its seeming dreariness. A winter day — a time for a good book and a cup of tea, a hike, a meeting with friends, discovering new places, finding new ideas, meeting new people, searching for all the small, amazing things about an ordinary, mundane day. It is those tiny things that make each day unique — a smile, a thought, a hug, a look, a glimpse, a glance, a group, a friendship, a sudden recollection, the dawning of a new idea, seeing something in a new light for the first time. This is when an ordinary, hard winter day transforms into a gem, something to embrace and look forward to — an opportunity.