Finding a Winter Wander-land (and Other Coping Strategies)
On the surface it would seem the season's stark and ethereal beauty inspires me more than any other time of the year. And I do enjoy winter. Up to a point. And that point is usually passed by the time February rolls around! So in actuality, I realise, the hyper-active photography is more of a coping strategy. Just as I would use it at social gatherings that I no longer want to be at, but for some reason have to, I use the camera to deal with a tedious season that has outstayed its welcome yet shows no signs of leaving. I use it to squeeze the most out of the few hours of daylight I have at my disposal. I use it to compensate for the lack of freedom I feel due to my decreased travel radius. I use it to shift my focus from the cold, the wind, and the frozen roads, to the ever-changing beauty of my surroundings.
Along with this use of the lens (and the donning of ever-more colorful woolen attire), I've developed another coping strategy. And it's one I can best describe as "micro-wandering." That is, exploring places that - while both too close to home and too ordinary to be of interest in the warmer months - in the winter are transformed into novel, fascinating microcosms, just begging to be "conquered" by bicycle.
In the course of these micro-wanderings, the scanty patches of woods behind my house become elaborate obstacle courses, taking ages (okay, minutes) to navigate and requiring formidable skill (or so I like to pretend) to complete.
The surrounding fields, blinding-white and offering views of the snow-capped hills, harbour untold secrets (hint: most likely sheep droppings) in their mysterious Tundra-like vastness.
And the 1 mile ride to the shop down the snow-encrusted lane, becomes the quest for the holy grail - made all the more exciting by not knowing whether and when the front tire on the old bike I chose for this crazy adventure might pop off the cracked rim again (whoopsie, there she goes!).
It's a cold, dark world out there - at least for another month or two! - Might as well make light of it, as best as we can. What are your coping strategies when winter outstays its welcome?