Winter Sunlight

While winter is not my favourite season – I reserve that designation for autumn – it ranks as second in my books. Call me Canadian, but I am a sucker for blankets of white, fluffy snow stretching across open fields, or heaped like giant scoops of ice cream on the branches and boughs of fir trees. I enjoy the cold, too. I find it ivigorating to walk briskly through the chill, filling my lungs with fresh, clean air with each breath.

More than anything, though, I love winter sunlight. It lends sparkle and depth and shadow to an otherwise monochromatic landscape. It is almost otherworldly: crystalline and pure. When it shines through tall, snowy trees as the sun is setting or rising, the light is even more dazzling and dramatic: a distant sun showing off for us, refusing to be forgotten. Perhaps because winter light is so rare, I impart a certain value to it. The shorter days are made more precious by virtue of their early demise.

The next time you take your dog for a walk, or venture outdoors on a snowy day promise me that you will pause for a moment to notice the light as it shines through bare branches or illuminates the sky or snowbank, casting a subtle palette of pink and blue and orange across its canvases.




Andrew Ritchie is the creator of Martha Moments, a blog devoted Martha-Stewart related content and her community of supporters. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada, and has been a longtime friend of Brent & Josh, Beekman 1802 and Sharon Springs. Each week he’ll scour the world (wide web) to find the 5 most beautiful things to inspire you. Follow Andrew on Pinterest.



by Andrew

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The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles, nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

Mary Oliver, “First Snow”

Bonnie Moon

such beautiful pics, thank you Andrew for sharing your gift. I miss the snow. I grew up in the Northwest, have been living in southern Ca for 40 yrs now (geez!) so I know how you feel.

Ivonne Clarke

The most beautiful pictures I’ve seen I need to make it one day to a winter’s snowy land. Hot in Florida.


Love, love, love these images. Just took a moonrise snow walk this past weekend. I am not a winter person, due to the darkness….however fresh snow is breathtaking.

Dolores Gerber

Winter can be a beautiful time, these pictures capture the light just perfectly! (As long as you don’t have to go out and shovel the snow!)

Suzanne Koba

The light is indeed beautiful when snow is in the trees, especially when frost glistens on the branches.