It is pretty amazing if you think about it, right?

It has been an unusual December here where I live. The weather has been warmer than usual, which has called me to spend more time outside than the typical cold December. 

And it has been worth it.

The evenings in December have felt more like October evenings. Cold enough to wear a jacket, but warm enough to take it off after walking a little distance.

These walks have allowed me to fully take in the beautiful woods and walking paths that I typically do not frequent in the winter months. The winter woods have a different feel than they do in all the other seasons. There is a quietness and brisk chill that seems to add a seriousness to the walk.

I found myself surprised by the beauty of the winter woods. 

Sure, it is easy to find beauty in the spring flowers, summer shades of green, and fall colors, but I have often thought of the winter (especially without snow present) as a sort of throw away. A time when beauty fades so that I can appreciate it again in the Spring.

I was mistaken. 

These recent walks have shown me that beauty exists in the creation around us at all times... it is just a question of whether I'm ready to see it. 

Whether it is a dead tree standing against a white sky and line of evergreen trees that seem more able than I to acknowledge it's beauty (picture below)...

or maybe the moment when the sun, though setting, finds a way to peek through the trees just as you are taking a photograph - thus creating a beautiful glare that tips it's hat to the ethereal moment in time that you missed in person but understood when you looked at the picture (below)...

or maybe you can acknowledge the beauty of our world when you catch a friend walking down a wooded path with December leaves beneath her feet, evergreen trees on her left and right, and her future before her (below)... and you are reminded that you also are walking along your own journey and have not yet arrived (as if we ever arrive!). You remember that we are all beings in progress. Always seeking to take care of our souls and leave a positive effect on all we encounter, including ourselves. 

It's pretty amazing if you think about it, right? This world we have the opportunity to live in has beauty in every corner and yet we miss it far too often.

The news would tell you we live in a dark world. And while there may be dark moments in our lives, I'm convinced creation is calling us toward love and compassion... toward others and toward ourselves. 

I hope you have a soul-filled moment on a December walk this week :)