I try to keep my voice down when I speak of my love for winter. I’ve learned that almost no one wants to hear it. Yet at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, I fall in love with this stark but lovely season once again. It’s November on my first visit — everything is shades of brown and the sky is nearly entirely gray. Standing halfway up Peters Hill, the only sound is a nearby rustling in the bushes, then silence, then cawing overhead, then silence. Suddenly, a hawk flies over me, clutching something. I inch closer to her tree; all thoughts of a hearty breakfast leave me as I see the hawk gnawing and tugging at the guts of her prey.
On another visit, the all-brown landscape has been replaced by white blankets of snow. A half-dozen children run through a grove of fir trees. They play outside every day, their teacher tells me, no matter the weather. They laugh and chase each other, snow falling around them. Later that morning, on Hemlock Hill, I meet two health care workers on break from the nearby Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. Like the children, they throw snow in the air and run through the trees. I’ve met my mates and for now, I’m tuning out the naysayers. Winter is upon us and some of us — we’re smiling.