The Gift of Winter

Winter is a song with a thousand melodies, but you have to train your senses to hear them.

Marc Farre
3 min readDec 21, 2021


A single persimmon hangs on a barren tree in winter.
Photo © Viviane Bauquet Farre

Ever notice how quiet nature is in winter? Only a few hardy birds pierce the silence. In the stillness and the chill, you can actually hear snow fall. Sound seems to travel frictionlessly, for miles around, and your breath simply hangs, silently in the air, reminding you you are alive.

In winter, you notice things. Things that otherwise would seem commonplace. A red cardinal suddenly alighting on a limb outside the kitchen window. A lone persimmon hanging on a bare branch like a forlorn Christmas ornament. The way a shop window glows in the dark as you walk by.

Everything matters so much more in winter

The gift of winter is noticing. When the world is cold, warmth matters—not so, in summer. In a world of gray, a shot of color, like that red cardinal, is a gift from heaven — in spring’s cacophony of color and sound, you’d barely notice it. The silhouette of a bare tree against an afternoon sunset is a silent sculpture — a few weeks earlier, it was unseen scaffolding for autumn’s explosion of color.

Many see winter as a time of unrelenting gloom, with no end, no warmth, no hope in sight. But to me, winter is both the final triumph of darkness and the birth of the light. It’s powerful.

Winter is the pivot point — the hinge — between death and rebirth, defeat and redemption.

Without winter’s austerity, the sweetness of spring would go unnoticed. And in fact, even in the darkest days and nights, spring’s energies are already gathering, deep underground. In no time, hard buds start to appear on branches.

Winter makes you work hard at trust. You have to dig deep into your own underworld to find the stirring. You have to be still. Sit by a fire — metaphorical or actual. Face your own darkness with whatever inner light you can summon.

When we welcome those times of austerity with open arms, when we take our cue from winter, and turn inward to contemplate, then we receive the full measure of this subtle but powerful gift.

In Northern California, where I live, winter is also the time of the blessing of the rain — when brown hills baked by months of unrelenting sun become lush and greener-than-green again, when fat clouds return, the sky is bluer-than-blue, the air is redolent of wet wood and sweet freshness, and glorious sunrises and sunsets can leave you mouth-agape.

photo © Marc Farre

Winter is a song with a thousand melodies, but you have to train your ears to hear, eyes to see, and heart to feel. My wish for you is that you let it cast its spell and spreads its gifts — and rejoice at the rebirth of the light.

Marc’s melodies and words live here:



Marc Farre
Writer for

Writer, recording artist, traveler, faux-polymath. Nothing human is foreign to me.