Subtle Beauty

Outside, the vivid shades of summer have given way to the understated palette of winter.  The riot of greens mixed with a rainbow of colored plants and animals has gone.  Yet there is still beauty to be found.

Today does not hold the sharp contrasting beauty of a holiday card, with pristine white of snow and stark black of bare branches.  The scene outside is instead more subtle, the beauty concealed in a bleakness many find unappealing.  But look closer; you will find that the wildness of winter holds secret splendor.

It can be found in the swirls of a frozen river, blending every possible variation of gray in a random, mesmerizing pattern.  There are the dry plants, each lending a different shade of brown to the shivering field.  Ice abounds, its clarity, like diamond, changed by the minerals contained and the impurities trapped within.  Here and there you see a patch of green defiance: pines standing still-leafed against the cold, grass that refuses to surrender to death.  And yes, the trees and snow are still present, but no longer in the spotlight.  Instead, the leafless branches form a backdrop, the pockets of snow an accenting counterpoint.

The leaden sky and dampened sunlight seemed to add to the scene as I hiked this afternoon.  Clouds, too, have their own quiet beauty, and the cold loveliness of the walk would have been easy to miss if my eyes had been looking up, basking in the sunlight.  Instead, the entire world was wrapped in the quiet shading of winter, and I am glad I was there to witness it.