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Winter Joy!

Eagle & Salmon, Truck Road along the Nooksack River. Whatcom County, Washington.

Winter for me means quiet and solitude after a heavy snow. An instant wake up from taking a simple walk in the cold. It means eagles and salmon on the Nooksack and Skagit Rivers. Rarer lately, but it means a better chance of seeing a snowy owl!

Snow day at Hannagan Pass Road. Mt. Baker National Forest.

Forever a kid at heart, it means snow days off from school and work -- synonymous always with playtime and to head outdoors or just drive in the pureness of fresh snow. To run home from early release in grade-school, and to build snow forts all afternoon. To hike or paddle with few others on the trail or on the water. To sit in the snow and wind during a white-out on Mt. Baker, completely lost in how beautiful and amazing weather, place, and nature can be.

Approach of Winter, South Fork Valley and Twin Sisters. Whatcom County.

Winters hold special meaning, painted by the light, reflection, and translucence of ice. The transition lines between flowing and solid water. Water and rock, rimmed with ice, bordered by individual crystal design, and cushioned by the softness of snow on the banks. The confluence of green firs and moss, white snow, and deep blue pools and eddies. The promise that this ice and snow will eventually transform into flowing currents that provide beauty, inspiration, and that will forever fuel my love and connection with rivers and nature.

Merganzer, Kendall Creek. Whatcom County.

Watching elk and bison breathe and navigate through deep drifts. Debating the wisdom of otters as they slide across the snow and ice and disappear into the current. Wistfulness for how hare, fox, weasel, and ptarmigan can so completely adapt to place and season. The very thought of winter wolves running across the snow and ridgelines. As my friend Jan would say, “Sigh!”

Murtle River 2010, Wells Grey Provincial Park. British Columbia.

It can mean a time of hibernation. To cozy in for a long night, to lower our metabolism, to welcome and nurture family, and to contemplate brighter days and warmer weather to come. A time to slow down and take stock, to give thanks and plan for the future. Winter is my favorite season!

Helmcken Falls (463 ft.), Wells Grey Provincial Park. British Columbia.

Winter is a time for reflection. Religious for many, social for others, a time to give thanks for your blessings, to help those less fortunate, to think back on past experiences, friendships, and to contemplate how to be better in the future.

Skykomish River Backdrop. Washington State. 2008.

All these thoughts swirl through my head as I write this, so Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Joyous Kwanzaa to all!

Winter Sunrise, South Fork Valley. Whatcom County.

Thanks to everyone who allowed me to have wonderful experiences, set examples, were helpful in my being successful in my many chosen careers, who mentored me in my love of nature, and who have traveled with me either in person or through my images. I wish each of you a wonderful 2022 and hope to share even more adventures in the coming months.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” Edith Sitwell

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