Der Schnee

One of the things I love about living here in Central Switzerland is that we get a real winter. Something about the snow — der Schnee — always raises my Canadian spirits, especially in the run up to Christmas.

Even a sprinkling of the white stuff on the mountains casts everything in a new light. You see all kinds of details that you never noticed before.

There are twinkling lights on the balconies and across the valley, making it feel like a winter wonderland. Even the fog has it charms!

Part of the fun here is knowing that no matter how much snow falls, they are up to the job. Our town has a veritable army of snow removal trucks waiting in the wings with their engines revving. By November, they’ve installed bright orange poles all along the edges of the roads to clearly demarcate where the plows need to go. Even our small street is already plowed by the time I take the dogs out at first light.

Oh, the marvel of Swiss efficiency! (I do miss things about France, but snow removal is not one of them).

And when the sun comes out and bounces off the mountain tops it’s just, well…soul-satisfying.

At this time of year, as we head towards the winter solstice, you have to get out early in the afternoon to catch the sun’s last hurrah before it slips between the mountains. Then you get to huddle indoors as darkness creeps and even pour yourself a glass of something to enjoy from the warmth of cozy indoors.

If you are really blessed, you may even have a furry foot warmer or two.

What’s your favourite part of winter?

25 comments

  1. acflory · December 10

    -giggles- In answer to your question…nothing! I’ve only seen snow once – 1973 Hungary – and I never want to see it again. As an Australian, snow is a mostly alien thing. Give me sunshine and green things any day. 😀
    That said, your photos really are quite spectacular. 🙂

    • MELewis · December 12

      Hungary in 1973 must have been exotic in many ways, especially the snow! You are allowed to enjoy winter vicariously from the warmth of your Australian sunshine! I know it’s summer for you now but I imagine it stays warm even in winter…? Personally, I couldn’t live there as I am useless in the heat and would much rather slog through snow than survive a heat-wave without air conditioning (which I’ve done for most of my years since leaving Canada). ☃️

      • acflory · December 15

        I think I have a ‘cold’ gene too because I loathe the heat, but you can get used to most things, and these days, almost everyone has aircon. I really couldn’t survive without it either.

  2. pedmar10 · December 10

    hahaha no way spent a few years in New Jersey next to NYC and saw snow up to my knees, never again. You can have it all,enjoy it. Nice to look at the pictures lol!

    • MELewis · December 12

      Ah, but surely you must see some of the white stuff in France? I know that all it takes is a few flakes to turn the country on its ear each winter. Glad you enjoyed the pics though!

      • pedmar10 · December 12

        Yes for the French snow is well hell, but luckily I moved several years to coastal lovely Bretagne and avoid all that! Cheers

      • MELewis · December 13

        Lucky you. I will make it there one day!

      • pedmar10 · December 13

        3😎

  3. M. L. Kappa · December 10

    How cute are those two! The best thing about snow is that it lights up the darkness of winter. And I love skiing. In Greece snow is prized because it is rare. In early spring if you’re lucky you can go skiing in the morning on Mount Parnassus and swimming in the afternoon in Galaxidi

    • MELewis · December 12

      Just the names of those places make me long to return to Greece! How nice to read you, ML., hope you’re keeping well. You are right about the light; I think that’s the part of snow I love best. And if you love skiing, Switzerland’s slopes are ready! ❄️

  4. Becky Ross Michael · December 11

    I do miss having snow in the winter (at least for a while:) In Texas, I like not having to use the AC and being able to wear a sweater or fleece when I go for my walk. Your photos are gorgeous!!!

    • MELewis · December 12

      It is nice to be able to wear a sweater, isn’t it? I can’t imagine not living with four seasons, although I can see how you enjoy the year-round sunshine. We get a lot of grey skies in winter but the scenery around here makes it all worth it. Growing up in Toronto had its charms but I would have a hard time trading our mountains for the big city again.

  5. midihideaways · December 11

    I love the way snow modifies light and sounds and the crunch underfoot on new snow. We don’t often see snow in our corner of France, but when it does fall chaos ensues !! 🙂

    • MELewis · December 12

      I know just how you feel — that crunch of snow! I think you enjoy it all the more if you only get a little winter. As for the chaos of snowfall in France, it no better in the Haute Savoie!

  6. Colin Bisset · December 11

    Such beautiful photos (and fabulous foot warmers). There’s something special about living where you get real seasons – somehow you can submit to it, knowing it will deepen but then change. A snowscape in sparkling sunlight is hard to beat. I rather miss that seasonal definition here. Not that winter isn’t different from other times but at first glance it can look the same – blue sky, sunny days, leaves on trees. Except it’s the light I love – softer, clearer, letting the natural colours sing instead of flattening them with brightness. I also rather enjoy putting on a sweater for a change!

    • MELewis · December 12

      I agree about the light. For some reason, although I was born in the heat of summer, I cannot stand direct sun and am rarely seen outdoors without sunnies. It must have been a huge transition to adapt to a different rhythm of seasons when you moved to Australia. In fact, I’ve always wondered what winter down under is like. Just shorter days and cooler temps but no changing leaves? Is there a rainy season?

  7. Joanne Sisco · December 12

    Although this northern girl has said repeatedly that I have no use for snow, I must admit that I can’t imagine life without winter. It has its own rhythm and beauty. Like you, I’d much rather have the chill of winter than the oppressive hot, humid days of summer! Add mountains and it’s perfection!

    • MELewis · December 13

      Ugh, the heat, eh? 😅 Like you say, Joanne, the rhythm and the beauty of the seasons have their charm. Good thing we like the cold though, as I can see not everyone feels the same. I agree about the mountains — although I’d rather admire the view than climb them!

  8. Suzanne et Pierre · December 12

    Lovely pictures. Winter looks good on pictures but I must admit that I am not a big fan of that season. I don’t like the cold and the layers of clothes and boots you need to put on. I don’t like much of the winter sports except for skating so I find winter long and painful. So since our retirement we have tried to get away to warmer clime in the winter though the pandemic put a damper on that plan this year…hopefully next year we will be able to get away…(Suzanne)

    • MELewis · December 13

      Given where you live, Suzanne, I can sympathize. Winter is all very well in December and January, but the thrill quickly fades. Plus, the cold is that much colder in Québec. But the pandemic panic is no fun and I do hope things get back to normal in 2022. It is hard for you photographic nomads being grounded!

      • Suzanne et Pierre · December 14

        Totally agree with you that winter is fun at first but drags on… we are back from a month in Playa del Carmen (see blog post) and we are starting to plan for the winter…

  9. Vanessa in France · December 12

    I used to love the snow, and when you don’t have to go anywhere the sun sparkling on it is lovely. Unfortunately, they are not well geared up for it here, and we’ve been stuck up our steep lane for several days on occasion, although not in recent years. I hope I’m not tempting providence! Where you live now, I’m sure it’s all very efficiently managed.

    • MELewis · December 13

      It’s beyond efficient here. I wonder if they get paid per service run as they are always on it. Husband and I joke about it as it almost seems comically Swiss. I do remember the frustration of snow in France and how it slowed everything to a halt. People would shrug and say it would probably all be melted the next day anyway. (Often it was.) Hope you stay out of extreme weather this winter!

  10. Ally Bean · December 14

    Beautiful, beautiful. It doesn’t even look real to me, yet I know it is. Switzerland is gorgeous. My favorite thing about winter is that there’s nothing to do in the garden. For 3/4th of the year I love gardening and flowers and trimming and weeding, BUT I also like being free from it for a few months. Winter is enjoying stillness and the warmth inside our happy house. [Kind of a cornball answer, huh?]

    • MELewis · December 15

      Not cornball at all — or if it is, it’s close to my heart! I totally get what you mean about loving something yet enjoying a break from it. (It makes me wonder if perhaps, just once, for a month or two, I should take a break from writing? I would surely come back to it with joy!) Hope you enjoy the winter stillness, and yes, Switzerland is unbelievably beautiful. ❤️

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