Explore how the dormancy and difficulty of
winter can be a
time of spiritual preparation and
For many, winter is a time of postponed
activity—and of shoveling snow, navigating ice, and
trying to keep warm. What can easily be forgotten in
winter’s cold and occasional dreariness is that it can
also be a time of shoring up, of purity, praise, delight, and
In thirty stirring pieces—from
translated Sanskrit and Hebrew poems to Henry David Thoreau and
Basho, Jane Kenyon, John Updike, Kathleen Norris, and Annie
Dillard—we share in the recognition of winter’s
hardships and celebrate the glory of winter as a spiritual
gift—a quiet time in the rhythm of life, a time of
thoughtfulness, of looking forward, and of unexpected hope.
Examining our retreat and hibernation from
the world, and our ultimate breaking free from icy paralysis,
these inspiring selections help us express and understand our
own personal reaction to wintertime. They show us the way from
the cold of this season to the warmth of the human soul.
Basho Will Campbell Rachel
Carson Annie Dillard Donald Hall Ron
Hansen Jane Kenyon Jamaica Kincaid Barry Lopez
Kathleen Norris Henry David Thoreau John Updike
E. B. White …and many others
*This outstanding anthology features
top-flight nature and spirituality writers on the fierce,
inexorable season of winter. This is not the place to seek warm
fuzzy odes to sleigh rides and hot cider, through those images
and appear occasionally. Rather, these authors speak to the
brutal barrenness of winter, its frozen tundra a witness to the
manner in which spirituality requires dormant, seemingly
infertile periods before bursting into life.
"A beautiful new book.... [It] is
indeed a joyous and penetrating look at the spiritual
possibilities available to us in the fierce season of
"Striking in variety and
quality...Schmidt and Felch have brought together an
outstanding and diverse selection of words on winter."
"Will...delight and inspire readers
who regard this paradoxical season with the respect and
affection that it deserves."
"Present[s] winter as a season for
—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio)
"Filled with wondrous and sometimes
terrible beauty. It is enlightening and inspiring, and a cache
of productive reading, especially in the long dark stretches
before the first day of spring."
—Valley News (Lebanon, NH)
From Winter: A
Spiritual Biography of the Season
"Some of us…are
darkness-lovers. We do not dislike the early and late daylight
of June, whippoorwill’s graytime, but we cherish the
gradually increasing dark of November, which we wrap around
ourselves in the prosperous warmth of the woodstove, oil,
electric blanket, storm window, and insulation. We are partly
tuber, partly bear. Inside our warmth we fold ourselves in the
dark and its cold—around us, outside us, safely away from
us; we tuck ourselves up in the long sleep and comfort of
cold’s opposite, warming ourselves by the thought of the
cold, lighting ourselves by darkness’s idea."
"The cold was our pride, the snow was
our beauty. It fell and fell, lacing day and night together in
a milky haze, making everything quieter as it fell, so that
winter seemed to partake of religion in a way no other season
did, hushed, solemn. It was snowing and it was silent."
Winter is the seat of what will
come, the freeze that reminds us of the thaw, the hope
pensively waiting, the moment pausing, the rhythm at its nadir
but poised to begin its upward swing.
—from the Preface
one of the foremost illustrators working today, has illustrated
many books for adults and children, including The Pennyroyal
Caxton edition of the King James Bible and Lewis
Carroll’s Alice: Through the
Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.