Happy Winter Memories

Our home planet continues on its annual trek around our solar center and the northern hemisphere is tilting closer to the sun, yet coldness and harshness linger. While earth’s climate is warming, humanity’s collective heart is growing colder and runs the risk of freezing permanently.

I hate to be bleak, and I’m in no way, shape, or form comparing my angst and heartache to the actual suffering of so many, but I know that I’m not the only one worn out by near-constant worry, powerlessness, and, what is worse, hopelessness. In my naïveté, I had assumed that there wouldn’t be another war in Europe and that we were done with threats of nuclear conflict and annihilation, that sword of Damocles that hung above my adolescence. Not so.

Because the manmade reality, what we say and do to one another, is unendurable, I flee it as much as possible in order to preserve some semblance of sanity.

Escapism is preferable to perpetual anxiety, insomnia, and sadness, and escapes into the still-somewhat-intact cycles of nature bring flickers of sunshine and moments of happiness, however fleeting they may be. In the following photos I have captured a few of the happier moments from this past winter.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover the cursor over it.

62 thoughts on “Happy Winter Memories

    • Thank you for your comment. I know we are not alone in sharing this particular fear.

      The raccoon was in our back yard, but when he saw me with my camera, he scampered off, so I’m glad I was able to get at least one photo, even if it’s slightly out of focus and the subject is behind the fence.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I share your despair, Tanja, but also experience similar joy from the relief that Nature offers up every day. All the creatures you feature have crossed my path at some point during our numerous visit to your beautiful country, and the happy memories come flooding back as I read and re-read your uplifting post. 🙂 My late mother accompanied us on some of our first visits to the US and she adored owls, so she would have been thrilled to see your image of the early nester. Thank you for setting me off on a restorative path this morning, thinking back to happier times and places rather than listening to more terrible tales of human misery on the BBC radio news. Have a wonderful, peaceful day, my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your comment, Mr. P. I’m glad you found my post uplifting, I was worried it was too depressing. But it’s nice to know that my photos conjured pleasant memories for you also, just as they do for me whenever I look at them and remember each special encounter.
      Be well,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely put Tanja. I think most people are worried at this time, especially those of us of a ‘certain age’. I think I’ve had a fair life but why should the younger generations be put through this? I presume youngsters know the threat, it was constant in my childhood. I have come to despise the russian regime and their sick leader but also the ‘ordinary’ soldiers who shoot at civilians and bomb hospitals, these too must be held to account and one day they will.
    Nature is a great way of escaping, spring could not have come too soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • beautiful memories…fleeing under bombs and missiles must be terrible, envy those who are now all helping so madly at the borders and are themselves already endangered by stray bombs from these boundlessly dilettantish attackers from a state that you seemed to be on friendly terms with weeks ago…stay greeted and hugged, dear Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your comment. It is terrible what so many people are going through right now and I hope and pray that this war (and all other wars) will stop without causing more destruction and loss of life.
        Take care,
        Tanja

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    • Thank you for your comment, Brian.
      I think most people simply want to live in peace, but despite that fact, we still haven’t been able to figure out how to prevent those bellicose individuals from wreaking havoc. I wholeheartedly hope that some humans will live to see that time, but maybe that’s merely wishful thinking.
      Meanwhile, I’m grateful for each moment I can spend in nature.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Cathy. I’m glad you, too, find comfort and solace in nature.

      Seeing quail is very special, because–sadly–their numbers are decreasing. They are camera-shy, so I was pleased to capture a few of them “on film,” even if I had to crop and lighten the photo.

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    • Thank you for your comment, V.J. I agree that a peaceful world seems out of reach, but I have the sense that more and more people are tired of war, fighting, and killing, so maybe one of these days, peace can become a reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I, too, am anxious and worried. How could we not be? But we do need to find healthy ways to calm and soothe ourselves, and going out in nature is one of them. What a wonderful collection of photos of animals. I especially like the owl in the next. Such a good find! And the porcupine reminds me a little of a monkey. I don’t know why, but that photo sure made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Laurie. I always think that the expression “if you are not depressed, you aren’t paying attention” poignantly reflects the inner turmoil many of us feel.
      I’m glad the owl and porcupine made you smile, they did the same to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Like you and so many others, the current state of affairs has left me uneasy and apprehensive. It’s true that when I’m out in nature taking pictures I stop thinking about that, but the respite is brief.

    Raccoon as a “wash bear” amuses me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The year was 1972. I sat in the rear of a small grocery in northeastern Bavaria sipping warm beer with my new landlord. He lapsed into several bouts of tears as he recounted his decision to move from his native Czechoslovakia in 1968 as the Soviets moved in to counter the nationalist movement. After a while, he looked up, smiled, and said: “That is in the past. We will always be threatened by something since humans are in charge. For now, let’s drink to today.”

    (So, I learned to speak a bit of Bavarian from my inebriated Czech-born landlord. No wonder I got strange looks from the locals!)

    Tanja, despair is a normal emotion we experience when we see what’s happening in today’s world. I have been there several times in my three-quarters’ of a century lifetime. Don’t hide from the news, but understand it for what it is. A chronicle of the worst mankind has to offer. Then, go find some good news. It’s hard to locate because it doesn’t “sell”. But it’s there. Good deeds are quietly done every day.

    If you are religious, renew your faith. If not, find things to keep your mind busy. Try to only spend very small amounts of time absorbing current events.

    You have offered us a beautiful summary of excellent winter photographs! Go make more pictures of Spring as the earth renews itself. We look forward to what you find!

    I leave you with a few words from an older American writer and philosopher:

    “He who hears the rippling of rivers in these degenerate days will not utterly despair.”
    — Henry David Thoreau

    Alles gute!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your comment, Wally. It means a lot and it made me cry, but it a good way.

      I don’t want to live in despair and abandon hope entirely, and agree that many individuals do positive, wonderful things for one another. What I most struggle with is that mankind as a whole seems to have committed such heinous acts throughout time that the small little gestures of good have little chance to prevail.

      Thank you also for sharing the quote by Thoreau. I wonder if he would still be able to hear the rippling of rivers in our own degenerate days. But the rippling, even if muted, is still there, and nature still brings forth wonderful gifts for us. So I will do as you suggest–go and take more pictures and share them on my blog.

      And finally–I would love to hear you speak German with a Czech-Bavarian accent. 😊

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    • Dear Christa,
      Thank you for your comment. I agree that we are incredibly lucky if we live in a safe place and have the luxury to spend as much time in nature as we want or need to, and it’s my wish that everybody might have the same luck.
      Warmly,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  6. No less a committed lover of earth than Wendell Berry has a few words on the same issues you raised today. You may know his poem, but a re-read never hurts. It’s one of my favorites, and its wisdom never fails to move me.

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your comment and for sharing the poem, Linda. It was new to me. It’s lovely and also touched me profoundly. I’m grateful for all the “free” moments I get to experience, knowing fully that many individuals don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It is hard to escape from that which plagues the world and our reality, Tanja. I try to lose myself in my work or, when I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity, nature as do you. Sleep is also a balm. 🙂 And I am glad to wake each morning with a chance to hope for better things in our world. Those hopes may be dashed daily, but every morning is a new opportunity. Although violent troubles have accompanied mankind throughout our history, each new generation has more powerful weapons and it is frightening that we now have the capability to destroy the planet and most of the life that abounds with it. Others here have offered words to cheer you some and I wish I had them also. All I can say is to try to concentrate on the good things and keep your hope going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment and for the good wishes, Steve. It might be a pipe dream, but I really hope that we will reach a point when those in power realize that most people want to live in peace, and allow us to do so.
      I hope you will continue to be able to lose yourself in your work, out-of-doors, or while you’re sleeping. 🙂
      Best,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Donna. It’s always special to see an owl on the nest and signals that spring isn’t far away, even if they start to nest in the winter, when it can still be very cold. The adult’s dedication to her eggs is amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. An uplifting post. I always enjoy a few minutes retreat into nature, both real and virtual. This was a welcome short respite from anxiety. I loved the variety of your photos! The quail was especially enchanting.
    Best,
    Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Julie. I’m very glad you found the post uplifting, as I was worried that it might be a downer.
      Seeing quail is always special, and photographing them even more, as they tend to run off as soon as they notice they are a focus of interest.
      Take care,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Tanja – thanks for your honesty in these times of bleakness. I also battle with how not to feel overwhelmed and how to balance things while feeling almost guilty that I have choices denied to many others, while knowing that my anxiety and sadness does not help anyone else. We all need courage to carry on, and ‘escapes’ into nature (as your lovely photos demonstrate) can strengthen us and help us retain our resilience and our ability to carry on. Sending very best wishes as we try to chart our courses through these unbelievable times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Carol. The global level of stress on account of the pandemic and climate change is high even without the added calamity of war, and I think anybody who pays attention and cares is deeply disturbed (if not depressed) by what is going on. But you are right–we have to find a way to go on.
      Hoping and wishing for peace,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I see absolutely nothing wrong with bits of escapism. As a matter of fact I believe it’s required to maintain some mental health. Thank you for providing these wonderful images of nature to reassure us that all is not lost. I enjoyed each and every one… but I have to say my favorite was the prairie dog. We searched for them on our previous trip to the SW, but it seems that they are becoming scarce. I believe documenting all these lovely creatures is something that’s needed to remind us what we may be missing if we don’t do more to save those that are endangered.
    Hope you get to enjoy springtime soon… 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Gunta. I agree with everything you said and will never apologize for escaping the manmade for another, better reality.
      I’m sorry to hear about your futile search for prairie dogs. While we have lost many in this area, too, either to plague or human eradication, there are still a number of places where I get to see them regularly and I absolutely adore them.
      Spring is definitely on its way! 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

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