Staying One Step Ahead of the Winter Blues

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you been letting a negative attitude dominate your emotions this winter? It is easy to understand how that could happen with the sub-zero temperatures we have been experiencing; the lack of sunlight; the daily news; the destruction of our environment; etc.


Have I got an antidote for you!


  • Bundle up (I have 3 layers on most of my body and a full head scarf) !
  •  Go to your nearest wild area/park at least once a day.
  • Power walking is okay because it keeps you warm. But “intentional nature hikes” can be more satisfying because you become connected to nature. You are able to feel more alive, and for a time step out of those things that were dragging you down.

What is an intentional nature hike?


  • The first 10 minutes,  walk normally, let your body adjust to the temperature and
    to the place where you are walking.
  • The remainder of the time, focus your thoughts are focused on the present.
  • If you realize you are thinking about other things, stop walking for 10 seconds and re-focus.
  • Let nature show its hidden beauty – look for patterns, shadows, and animal tracks in the snow.


  • A variation on this activity is to find new things that you’ve never seen. This morning I saw 7 new things (I wonder if they were really “new” or if my memory is really poor). Regardless, this type of activity will keep you focused and fresh.
  • Listening is another form of connecting to nature. Listening to the sounds of the morning birds: the spring call of a cardinal or the “fee-bee” call of a chickadee. Also listening when there is no sound at all.  Listening to the earth: an old oak; a glacial moraine; a grove of birch. You may not hear anything, but feel it on an energetic level.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJed Krauss explains “listening to silence” in this way:  “I feel the silence of nature more like a touch (like when a sound wave vibrates through my body). There are other times when I’m just too addicted to my own thoughts to listen. For me, listening to the silence is the most rewarding type of meditation. More than just quieting my mind, this is opening my self up to be touched by Creation, in whatever way it chooses.”


On your intentional nature hike, you may see or hear special things. Try to identify the following sights and sounds. Then check the key at the end of the post.



















































key: 1. Squirrel refrigerator 2. spring call of a nuthatch 3. spring call of chickadee
4. spring call of a cardinal 4a. Rustling of red oak leaves in the wind 5. squirrel tracks 6. raccoon tracks 7. rabbit tracks
8. mice tracks 9. deer tracks 10. fox tracks 11. Owl wing prints in the snow  12. Sun dog
This entry was posted in Connecting to Nature, Nature Notes, Winter. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Staying One Step Ahead of the Winter Blues

  1. Dale Antonson says:

    Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.
    George Washington Carver

  2. Debbie Johnson says:

    Wonderful advice and terrific photos. Yoo-hoo, I correctly identified all tracks-hey, I’m learning. thanks for the post

  3. Kate Humphrey says:

    Thanks for taking the time to inspire and ground me. Just hearing the sounds of nature brighten the winter blahs. I plan on sharing your sounds and sights with my students. Keep keepin’ on….

  4. Steve Casper says:

    It’s incredible how by simply hearing the first spring call of a bird one can picture melting snow and little blue crocuses popping out. But that cardinal Larry recorded, has it been watching the weather reports at all? I don’t see at all where that bird is figuring it’s time to start singing spring tunes!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have been telling my wife & anyone who will listen that
      I am beginning to hear the birds of spring . They think I am
      hearing things or maybe starting to lose it! 🙂
      Jerry Kenline
      Shorewood, MN

  5. Grace Sheely says:

    I never knew that chickadees say “Ebay, Ebay.” I enjoy your muses VERY much. Thank you.

  6. Vicki Donatell says:

    This eNews is so like you, Larry. Thanks for providing us with more ways to appreciate any season. Keep it coming.

  7. Dale Antonson says:

    Your attitude of gratitude always makes me smile Larry. One can always tell an old soul by how friendly they are to trees. Thanks for sharing some of your secrets to happiness and living a balanced life.

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