50 Shades of White

In writer’s workshop 101 you learn to capture the reader’s attention with a catchy title.  Did it work? DSC02414

This past weekend we were treated to a day of gorgeous sunshine and temperatures which climbed to single digit minus degrees.  It was a wonderful reprieve from the polar vortex that has been enveloping southwestern Ontario for the last month.   I decided to take advantage of the “warmth” and headed to the Komoka trails, complete with camera around my neck, with the intent of capturing some pictures of birds for a project that I’m working on.  These trails are ones that I’ve enjoyed in the summer, spring and fall as they burst with different colours depending on the season and meander along the Thames River which also changes with the seasons.


DSC02384Within minutes I was struck with the beauty of the trails in winter and I noticed things that I have never noticed before during my numerous hikes.  I began to wonder if sometimes the sensory overload of colour takes us away from an underlying beauty.   Without the leaves, the trees lining the pathway formed a perfect archway and their shadows created a symmetrical pattern in the snow.  Shades of white became part of a beautiful mosaic of nature’s beauty. The intersection of branches and twigs created statues which, if you let your imagination flow, resembled great works of art.

As I continued my hike, I captured the intensity of the sun on the snow.  Within trees, what once were blankets of snow were beginning to melt and create artistic representations.  Some of them resembled large white caterpillars slithering along branches, complete with shape, depth and design ~ yet all in white!   We can only hope that within a few months colourful, real caterpillars will be doing just that.DSC02410


Persistence is a common theme in many of our schools these days.  We share novels, picture books, videos and picture quotes to give our students a sense of what persistence means.  With a winter as severe as the one we’re in the middle of, I was astonished to see a few trees who were still clinging to leaves which refused to drop, in spite of the wind, snow and frigid temperatures ~ nature’s reminder that with the strength of resolve, we can weather any storm.


Like most of us, I am looking forward to the warmer temperatures of the spring and the colourful reminder of rebirth and renewal.  But today’s hike reminded me that beauty and depth of colour and a visual experience can occur within shades of white.