I’m so glad I live in a world where snowflakes drop from the sky, sometimes each flake so fat you can catch them on your tongue, and sometimes, so small and fine it looks like sand is coming down from above.

I think a snowstorm, and its aftermath, is one of nature’s most beautiful dressings.

In central Maryland, winter came early this year.

The first week of November, a tornado tore through town.

And then two weeks later, the world was awash in white.

Then nothing in December. No snow, no cold temps. Actually felt like spring through Christmas. We all thought winter was done.

January brought rain and a few frosty mornings. I told the kids the extent of their winter sledding might be over. We ventured outside anyway, on some bright sunny mornings.

We have had new visitors to our trees this fall and winter – red-shouldered hawks. Their loud cries are hard to miss and when I hear them, I go running outside with my camera. I’ve chased them away from my neighbor’s chickens a number of times but so far, the hawks are winning.

Between the hawks and the warm temps, we tried to see the blood moon but all fell asleep. He sure was a spectacular full moon though.

One morning last week my kids and I were brushing our teeth and we heard the screech of a hawk outside. We rushed to the window, scanning the trees for the hawk. To our surprise, we saw not 1 but 3 hawks. And numerous crows, all being extremely vocal for such an early hour. I ran outside with my camera to capture the hawks.

I stood there for a few moments, focused completely on the hawks and getting a good shot when the biologist in me said, “Hey, wait a minute. Why are there 3 hawks and numerous crows screaming out here in your backyard? Is there a nest of mice somewhere? Or something else?”

And that’s when I looked around and saw this guy.

And I just about chased him away with my excitement. I ran and got the kids, told them I would absolutely take them to school if they missed the bus or even the first part of school. Seeing this great horned owl was WAY more important than getting to school on time.

So this winter has been pretty exciting. Warm temperatures, some rain, beautiful skies, lots of birds, a beautiful full moon, and a great horned owl.

And then the snow came again this week. So strange to go to bed seeing grass and muddy streets and to wake up to everything white, as if overnight, we moved in our sleep to a new world.

This week winter also brought the coldest of colds.

Seems winter is just beginning.

Today is a snow day for the kids and myself. It began like an ordinary winter day but has grown into a gusty, sometimes white-out filled, world. Currently the sun is shining as strong winds blow snow everywhere.

The farmer across the street has these huge evergreens in his side/front yard. They make this circle which my kids and I love to crawl into, no matter the season. Makes me feel like I’m in a secret hide-out. Nobody can see me, but I can see the world. The space feels safe and protected. We love it in there. Here’s some recent views from the inside:

I love a good winter day, where the world is bright, our cheeks are pink, and there’s always a warm cup of something waiting inside.

With a good three more months of winter yet to go, who knows what world we will wake up to tomorrow.