It’s been cold, and damp, and grey for the last few months in London I have been in full hibernation mode. Besides the necessary trips to my work, school, and the supermarket, I have rarely been on outings. Winter days are short so there isn’t much time to fully indulge in hours of outdoorsy activities, which is a shame really because there is so much to see and do around this city.
Yesterday though, we decided to spend our Saturday differently. I bundled up the kids and we drove off to Windsor, an area a few miles outside of London known famously for the Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the royal family.
We walked along the River Thames and admired the beautiful swans (property of the Queen and protected by the Crown), wild geese, and ducks waddling along the water. It was so calming to observe nature going with the flow: unhurried, un-distracted, and ever so graceful.
The Windsor Castle is a short walk from the River and it was flocked by people trying to take pictures.
Founded by William the Conquerer in the 11th Century, Windsor is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and serves as a weekend home for Queen Elizabeth. It is beautiful, but I often wonder at how much it costs to heat the entire building in the winter time.
The sun was setting by the time we arrived at the Diamond Jubilee Fountain and although it was getting dark, the lit up fountain looked magical against the backdrop of the inky orange sky. The kids loved it so much, they didn’t want to leave.
Sometimes it’s hard to leave the cosiness of home when it is so cold outside, but our Windsor outing reminded me that winter is truly a magical season if we are curious enough to explore it.
We are on the second half of winter now of course, after the Winter Solstice in December marked the lengthening of days and shortening of nights. And while I rejoice the return of sunnier days, I have found a new appreciation of winter from a New York Times article that now belongs in my box of treasures in my bedroom.
“However we may celebrate the return of light to our skies and lives…..we might also wish to pause to honor the darkness that will give way to it. If you don’t experience the darkness fully then you are not going to appreciate the light.”