Winter is a time of introspection and new beginnings, a time of extreme beauty and deprivation. It used to be the season of hunger - by the end of winter, before spring had really kicked in, all of the stored food would be running low and people would be hungry when they went to sleep at night. Early spring was always the worst. The plants that would be so sustaining later in the year would just be sending out their first shoots, and the waters would be running high from winter melt so getting around to find meat to bring back to the family would be difficult and dangerous. In today's modern world, when we just need to go to the local grocer's to purchase fresh greens and meat for the table, winter is no longer equated with the hunger. Would we be able to survive a winter like this one has been without our modern conveniences? I'm grateful that I don't have to try. Our footprint on this world may be heavy handed, but on snowy days it's nice to know that I can have a hot meal with a salad and stay healthy. Call me happy about that!
And Winter Carnival is in full swing. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is our own celebration of winter - activities and events going on for more than a week all over our metropolitan area. This is the 125th annual celebration of our winter celebration, so I have put one of our Winter Carnival buttons above (there are four different images). This button features the ice castle. An ice castle is not built every year, but often is. Winter Carnival celebrates the Winter King and his overthrow from power signifying the upcoming Spring. Sometimes temperatues are so warm that the ice sculpture contest and any other major icy events are threatened. That's not the case this year - the temps have been plenty cold and there is a lot of snow. But eventually the Vulcans (not, not ala Star Trek) will succeed in overthrowing the winter king and spring will come again. So there is hope still - we'll have spring coming yet.