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A Spiritual Biography of the Season

Edited by Gary Schmidt and Susan M. Felch
Illustrations by Barry Moser

6 x 9, 256 pp, Quality Paperback


Explore how the dormancy and difficulty of winter can be a
time of spiritual preparation and transformation.

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 play.
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.
Winter Contributors:
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
New York Times
“Stellar.... Will serve as [a] rich source of seasonal meditations to share with groups or to enhance one’s private devotions. Highly recommended.”
Church & Synagogue Library Association Newsletter
“Wonderful.... Has something for everyone.”
St. Anthony Messenger
*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.
Publishers Weekly
"A beautiful new book.... [It] is indeed a joyous and penetrating look at the spiritual possibilities available to us in the fierce season of winter."
National Public Radio
"Striking in variety and quality...Schmidt and Felch have brought together an outstanding and diverse selection of words on winter."
Concord Monitor
"Will...delight and inspire readers who regard this paradoxical season with the respect and affection that it deserves."
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Present[s] winter as a season for the soul."
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."  
 —Donald Hall
"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."  
Patricia Hampl
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
Barry Mosher, 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.
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