Winter is a fierce beautiful beast. To endure it we must prepare ourselves, like the lion tamer cumbered with upheld chair and whip. Always alert, we might enjoy for seconds at a time his roaring and his rippling grace as he circles the cage seeking to get at us. But we're stuck in this cage for months on end with no applause from the crowd to compensate us for our danger and discomfort.
The saddest day of the year is June 21 when the days start getting shorter. Everything ripens then decays. This too is beautiful and makes no demands on us. But soon we're hauling out the heavy coats and paying the fuel man. Life becomes dark and messy. The lights of Christmas distract us from the loss of daylight. On December 22 there's only eight and a quarter hours of sun. But there's hope in this because the days are getting longer now. By January 27 the sun is rising before eight and setting after five and that helps me bear the cold and snow. February is made short to boost our hope. Winter's back is broken by March and Spring has her birthday then.