A snow-covered Cumbernauld Glen. c. Katie Brown/Cumbernauld Living Landscape

Picture this. Christmas is over and you’re looking out the window on a cold, wet January day. It’s only three in the afternoon but it’s already almost dark. Sleet is smattering against windows, the central heating is cranked right up and find yourself starting to pine for those warm summer evenings. You may even wish it could be summer all year long, but an everlasting summer would actually be a terrible thing for nature.

Like us, mother nature needs rest. Many plants and trees need the shorter days and lower temperatures to become dormant. If a tree doesn’t have enough chilling time it will produce fewer and weaker buds in the spring. The lush green leaves and beautiful blossoms that we love could not be sustained all year long. Winter is a powerful time of transformation that is needed so that spring can come again.

And it’s not just trees that benefit from cold snaps, winter can be good for people too. Studies show that we can think more clearly in cold temperatures and also get a better night’s sleep. Another thing to consider is that it needs to be winter here in order for it to be summer somewhere else and would we really appreciate the warmth and brightness of summer if it lasted all year long.

Everything on planet earth comes in cycles. Without darkness there is no light, without winter there would be no spring, both in a literal and figurative sense. So next time you’re looking out the window on a grey January day, remember nature needs this. Summer will be here before you know it and we’ll appreciate it all the more thanks to cold and gloomy January days.

Katie Brown