“Now is the winter of our discontent,” William Shakespeare wrote at the opening of his play Richard III. Indeed, in the depths of the winter season, we can sometimes feel powerless against the short, dark days and their unending cold. Such sluggishness is certainly supported by the rhythms of nature — winter being the time when many animals hibernate. But there are still plenty of ways we can bolster ourselves during the coldest months of the year.
For one, following the lead of some Scandinavian countries, we can start to appreciate what winter offers us: starkly beautiful landscapes, cozy time indoors with loved ones, and a slower pace. Second, we can remember that even when we feel our worst, winter’s hold will always loosen: After the winter solstice in late December, daylight hours begin to lengthen again in a steady march toward spring. The following quotes offer a reframe on winter — its advantages, its natural transience, and how we might bear the bitter days better while they linger.
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, poet
We feel cold, but we don't mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that.
― Philip Pullman, writer
No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.
— Kenneth Grahame, writer
That’s what winter is: an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.
― Ali Smith, writer
Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths.
― George R.R. Martin
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, / even in the leafless winter, / even in the ashy city. / I am thinking now / of grief, and of getting past it.
— Mary Oliver
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
— Victor Hugo
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
— Anne Bradstreet, poet
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
— Albert Camus
If you spent the summer singing, you can't do better than spend the winter dancing.
I still believe in summer days / The seasons always change / And life will find a way
— Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.
— Paul Theroux, writer
Thank goodness for the first snow. It was a reminder — no matter how old you became and how much you’d seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered.
— Candace Bushnell
I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.
— Noam Chomsky
Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
— Pietro Aretino, playwright
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