The first day of winter arrived Dec. 21. The days are cloudy, dreary, sometimes rainy and just plain miserable! By five o'clock in the evening it is getting dark. Flowers are gone, the trees are bare, fields and the countryside are various shades of brown. Christmas has come and gone, the lights have been turned off, and most decorations taken down. Things look ugly, the color is gone.
You have heard the expression "a thing of beauty." Each of the following definitions is given in the dictionary. Thing -- any object or substance, implement or equipment for some specified use. Beauty -- an attractive or advantageous characteristic or feature. Where are the "things of beauty" at this time of year?
As we drive down our country roads all we see are the dark brown fields. Those fields are a "thing of beauty." Some are plowed, some are not, but they are all at rest, just waiting for spring when they will receive the seeds and fertilizer that will let them produce their crops that will help to feed the country. We see a row of bales wrapped in white plastic. They really show up as they lie on the brown background. Those bales are a "thing of beauty." They are providing the high quality forage that feeds the farmer's dairy cows, so that they can produce the milk that awaits families on the market shelves. Farther on we see a huge pile of wood all neatly stacked. That stack of wood is a "thing of beauty." It will provide warmth and comfort for a family during the snowy and freezing cold days of winter.
When roads are covered with several inches of snow and you need to go somewhere, a snow plow becomes a "thing of beauty." That plow on an ODOT or county truck means roads will be cleared so you can reach your destination.
And you know the drivers will be working night and day plowing and spreading salt to make it as safe as possible for you to travel. A snowplow on a tractor means the milkman will be getting to the dairy barn to empty the bulk tank and a neighbor's lane or driveway will get plowed out.
The pine tree along the road or in the forest is a "thing of beauty." It will remain green for us all winter long, giving us a little bit of color throughout the winter and providing shelter, nests, and beds of pine needles for the birds and wild animals to help them survive the harsh winter.
That beautiful bright red cardinal that just landed on the limb of the maple tree in the backyard is a "thing of beauty." He is a tiny bright spot on a dark and dreary day to remind you that there is always beauty in the world. Children playing in the snow, building a snowman, or sled riding down a hill are a "thing of beauty." A full moon shining on drifts of new fallen snow is a "thing of beauty." The flag of the United States of America waving in the breeze is always a "thing of beauty."
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Finding "things of beauty" during this darkest time of year can be difficult, but they are there. Sometimes you just have to look a little deeper to find them!