Wisdom of the winter season

The nice thing about winter is that there is nothing to do, and since there is nothing to do, there is no reason to feel guilty about doing nothing. Got that?

Now summer is a different story. When the weather is nice, we feel compelled to go out and do something. Anything.

Run, jump, bike, swim, barbecue. Eat barbecue. Eat more barbecue. Summer is a very demanding season.

But winter asks nothing of us. We can cuddle up on the sofa and read, watch TV, surf social media. We can curl up by a roaring fire. Nothing demanding. Nothing expected. We're in the human version of hibernation. Those bears know how to live!

I always hated winter. And the younger I was, the more I hated it. Cold. Snow. Shoveling snow. Driving in snow. Heavy, bulky cumbersome coats, hats, gloves, scarves. Hated it all.

But as I got older, winter got better. As I got older, I didn't want to run, jump, swim, barbecue, eat barbecue, eat more barbecue. And I didn't want to feel guilty about it. I began to see winter for what it is – a break from obsessive busyness, activity and ... barbecues (eating barbecue, eating more barbecue).

Furthermore, summer is so noisy. We're all outside making a racket. The windows are open and the all that racket from outside seeps inside. Where's my buds?

But winter, aahh. Now there's a season! So quiet. No one is out. Windows are closed. When it snows a kind of hush falls over the neighborhood. The snow blankets the streets and sidewalks and muffles those noisy summer sounds. Peace. Quiet. Rest.

Now that I'm older, I appreciate those things so much, and I can't believe I once craved summer and dreamed of living in a place where it was summer all year long - even in winter!

Then winter fades and, at first, I kind of enjoy spring and all the blossoming. I even enjoy summer, at first, at least. But then it gets very old, very fast. Busy, busy. Noisy, noisy. Soon though, it's fall and peace, quiet and restfulness begins to overtake the busyness of summer.

And then, then, winter. Unlike spring, when I feel compelled to appreciate the blossoming flowers and trees. Unlike summer, when I feel compelled to run, jump, bike, swim and barbecue. Unlike autumn, when I feel compelled to appreciate the changing colors of the leaves. In winter, I don't feel compelled to do anything.

And that's exactly what I do.

- Bill Barre of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].