Winter has its own beauty. Blankets of snow. Hoarfrost clinging to branches. Cloudless skies with sun glaring off white fields–paradoxically warming your face through the window–a blinking, squinting pleasure. Brown trees heavy laden with white–so different from their summer selves–yet, their own beauty.

Winter is lovely, but long. We’re longing for spring before she arrives.

On a howling night in February, Diedra and I were watching an old movie as part of our winter strategy for Hygge (the Danish notion of embracing the winter, similar to but bigger than our idea of cozy). We picked Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955, To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Filmed in the French Riviera (the Mediterranean coast of France), the photography was exquisite. Summer skies and seas; splashing water sports; visits to markets brimming with flowers; beautiful buildings set in perfectly manicured lawns–all combined to our delight. I was struck by the contrast of our monochromatic winter, and surprised at how much the color affected me.

Here’s a quote from philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand on the necessity of beauty. I pray that you’ll be able to take a full stop today–that you’ll be able to have a basking moment enjoying something beautiful–that it will fill your pores and warm your heart.

The role of beauty for human happiness is not restricted to those moments in which one is consciously looking at beautiful things. Beauty is active even at those times when one’s attention is directed to completely different things. The beauty of the environment in which one lives–one’s house, even if it is very simple…the view from one’s house, both near and far; the architectural beauty of the neighboring houses; the beauty of the sun that shines into the house, and of the shadow cast by a tree–all this nourishes the soul even of the simplest man or woman, entering into their pores even when they are not concentrating on it. And this applies to every situation in life. In the past when a person worked with his hands, bought and sold in the market, and celebrated feasts, he was surrounded by the poetry of these existential situations. This poetry nourished him. He no doubt lacked the understanding of poetry that a poet has when he observed these situations and consciously enjoys them. The simplest person did not look at these situations but took them for granted, living in them unselfconsciously. Their poetry nourished his spirit, irrespective of how far he consciously grasped it.

Dietrich von Hildebrand, Beauty in the Light of Redemption, 79.