The winter season is about to begin. Of course, not all cultures were conceived in the Northern hemisphere, where cold weather and the 21st of December mark winter's onset. For us, December 21st is the shortest day of the year, but in the southern hemisphere it is the longest. Although it seems like a foreign concept to us because of the influences and connotations of our holiday season, for them it is the beginning of summer. On Earth, the winter season usually relates directly to the part of the world that you inhabit. This is because most, but not all, cultures relate the season to cold weather.
Historically, societies prepared for winter from the end of the last season to the beginning of the next. Obviously we can take a quick drive to the grocery store and stock up on the necessary stores with relative ease, but back then it was a constant life or death struggle and source of pressure for the entire community. After all, for a long period of human history, agriculture was the main source of food. A bad harvest at the end of autumn could spell certain doom for not only a single family, but entire villages. People were forced to work together in order to survive.
Perhaps no one felt this more acutely than those who first colonized the New World after a difficult voyage overseas. From an early age, American schoolchildren are taught of winter's harshness through the historical example of the constant plagues, famine, and shortages of food that those first settlers had to survive through. Innumerable died. The amount of preparation that has historically gone into surviving long winters is easy for many of us to take for granted.
That gift is something for which we should always be thankful, and we should make use of the extra time that it has given us. Many will be outside playing with the kids this season, whether sledding, building snowmen, or having snowball fights. Be sure to protect your hands from the cold with a sturdy pair of gloves. For those of you more interested in having an adventure or obtaining a fulfilling rush of adrenaline, perhaps a skiing strip is in order.
People react differently to this weather than they once did. These days you have the choice between hunkering down inside wearing warm sweatshirts, huddling underneath comfortable blankets (even electric ones), and with the heat cranked way up, or simply hopping on a plane to a warmer environment.
Although this wasn't always the case, that doesn't mean we can't take advantage of what we're given. This winter season, reflect on the past and spend time with your family making memories.