It never quite feels like winter to me without snow, but I have learned that the folks in Oceanside become grumpy after three days of the white stuff, so I have learned to keep my love of snow, more often than not, to myself.
I miss being able to enjoy the changes snow makes to trees, bushes, golf courses, front lawns and the ocean.
There are changes that do occur even without snow however, and I wonder if many people take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us during our wet Oceanside winter.
A recent walk in the woods revealed a whole new colour pallet of greens and grays.
I also experienced dancing droplets of water as they hung suspended on bare branches and the tips of evergreen sprays.
At first glance everything seemed still, dead and old, but a closer look exposed tiny new shoots, scurrying insects, and miniature buds.
Life and beauty were everywhere and God’s gifts in creation were plentiful to the observant and admiring eye.
Winter is also a wonderful time to enjoy a walk on the beach.
Yes it is colder, and a scarf and a pair of mitts will increase your enjoyment, but there is so much to see.
The creatures in tide pools seem to behave different in the winter, with fewer crabs present or active.
I think the ocean even smells different in the winter.
A diverse variety of birds visit and seals can often be seen.
Sudden winds create vivid colours on the water and if you can remember to bundle up and take in a good storm you will discover magnificent shapes in the forceful dancing waves.
In both the calm and the raging of a winter beach, God’s creative grandeur can be experienced.
The forest and the beach can frequently be forgotten destinations in the winter.
Carve some time out of your day, and prepare yourself for a magnificent experience.
Keep your eyes, ears and hearts open, for it is often in ordinary places that you will be met and delighted by the Holy.
The Rev. Hilde J. Seal is one of the Ministers at Knox United Church in Parksville.