In Shades of Gray


“I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.”

                                                                          ~ John Burroughs


I don’t ordinarily have a negative reaction to any sort of weather, I pretty much like it all, but the past few days have been unbelievably gloomy, and the other day I found myself feeling a bit low in spirits.  Of course it may not have been the weather’s fault, in fact, it probably wasn’t, but I had a more difficult time finding the beauty in it.  And my joy.

As I sat there sipping my coffee, feeling low and looking out at the gray gloom, I noticed my tree.  I love my tree.  It’s a giant sycamore that my Grandpa planted out in front of the house 70+ years ago, and it fills the entire span of all three of my bedroom windows, like an ancient guardian keeping watch over me.  It has the strangest branches that spike up at odd points and its bark is forever peeling off, giving it an extra barren look, and I found myself thinking “Even Papa Sycamore looks gloomy today.”  But then I began to notice all of the different shades of gray, of not only my tree, but also of all the surrounding trees in the background set against the gray of the sky, and I suddenly thought it looked rather pretty.  I don’t usually find gray a “pretty” color, but for some reason all of those various shades of gray looked pretty to me, and it took me a bit by surprise.  My mood shifted almost immediately.  Interesting how finding the beauty in something can make such a big difference in ones mood.

It made me want to get outside, to be out in nature, to breathe in the cool fresh air, and take in the scents and sights of winter.  It’s more difficult for me to spend time out in nature in the winter because I’m allergic to the cold.  Like actually legit allergic, not in a joking way.  I break out in hives from cold temperatures, and can even have sensitivity to the cold in the freezer section of the grocery store if I linger there for any length of time.  It’s not anything real extreme though and it seems to have improved in recent years, but I still take care when it comes to the cold.  I also have mild asthma which can sometimes be triggered by the cold.  I know, it may seem strange… why the heck do I live in such a cold place when I’m allergic to the cold?!



Haha! I don’t know, maybe because my family is here, my friends, my life.  And maybe because even with the cold winter weather, I still find it incredibly beautiful here.  I just gotta bundle up real good if I wanna go outside.

It wasn’t ‘face hurting’ cold out there the other day though, so after my daughter and I had finished running a few errands, I told her that I wanted to stop by a local nature preserve before going home and get out to explore for a little bit.  So we did just that.  As we were out walking, she mentioned that she was just thinking earlier it would be a perfect day for a nature walk.  I wouldn’t exactly call it perfect, I’d prefer it a bit warmer with at least a little sunshine, but she hates the sun and loves when the weather is gloomy like this, so it was perfect to her.

Well, regardless of whether or not it was perfect weather, it was wonderful to just be outside enjoying nature, and it was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits.  The quote I shared above really expresses it perfectly…  “I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.”   Nature truly soothes my soul.  ❤


The preserve we went to was the same place where I snapped this photo of this giant oak tree last autumn when it was in all its autumn splendor.  It looks much different on a gloomy day in winter…


But it was still a lovely sight to see.  Oh, how I love trees.

And I love the water – the view of the lake there was still lovely too…


Even on a dreary day when it’s all frozen over.  And when the lakes here are frozen over, people go out and walk on them – see all the footprints?  Well you wouldn’t catch me out there walking on it – our temps haven’t nearly been cold enough this winter to make me feel like it would be safe.

 As I was busy snapping the above photo, and pondering the dangers of thin ice, my daughter wandered off on her own.  When I caught up to her I found her sitting on a stump along the shore looking out at the lake.


Yes, safely on the shore is more like it.   😉

Although… going ice fishing sounds like fun, we haven’t done that in ages.  Maybe during a winter when the ice is thicker.  Several feet thicker.

Even though it wasn’t real cold out, eventually winter’s chill seeped in, so we made our way back to the car.  On our way back, my daughter looked down and look what she found…


A $5 bill!  Nice!  Gotta love randomly finding money on the ground, maybe it really does grow on trees.  😀

As we were driving out we saw this metal sculpture…


Another 5… it must be a sign!   😉

[Yeah… a sign that I’m weird]

We also came across this interesting sculpture…


You can’t tell from the photo, but there was an interesting optical illusion thing going on with this.  Not sure why it was there, what the story is behind it, or what it has to do with the nature preserve, but it was cool.  I like art.


In all, our little outing didn’t last very long, but it was just long enough to get in a good nature fix, it was so refreshing.  And beautiful…

Even on a gloomy day

beauty can still be found in shades of gray.





✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

47 responses to “In Shades of Gray

  1. Thank you for sharing this lovely post, the little stories and the beautiful photos! 🙂 ❤ Give my love to your gorgeous daughter too 🙂 and, I think 5 was a sign, a good one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a beauty in everything you see… one must just correct the negativity of the cold… dress warmly and I’m sure summer will get there soon. … wish I could send you a bit of our heat…. nearly everyday we get to the 40 C….

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, all one has to do is look for it. 🙂 I wish you could send some of those warm temps this way too, but 30’s aren’t too shabby for January in Minnesota, it could be worse. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that quote and the ways you found beauty all around you. Great photo journey around your world; the sycamore, lake and snow are fun, especially since I don’t have to “hurt my face” with cold. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your heart Julie.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The grey does tend to be a bit depressing, but I find my mood lifts once I actually get outside.

    Your tree is lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And a high five from me on this charming article Julie! H ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: In Shades of Gray By: Ramblings Of Jewels | dreamweaversdream

  7. Thank for sharing your transformation Julie 🙂
    “Interesting how finding the beauty in something can make such a big difference in ones mood”
    Yes indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely story and beautiful pics. Good for your Grandpa

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nature is amazing! Gray certainly has its moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I applaud you for going out for a nature walk this time of year. I’m a wimp and stay warm when I can. Your pictures are great.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great day you had! Love all the pictures. Having a tree nearby that your Grandpa planted ust seems like such a beautiful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really was so wonderful to get outdoors, it was just what I needed. 🙂 Yeah, it’s pretty special having this tree that my Grandpa planted. I live in the house I grew up in and it’s also my Mom’s childhood home, so there’s lots of family history here. There’s also a lovely patch of lily of the valley growing on the side of the house that my Grandma planted, I adore those!


  12. For being grey, this was one happy post, Julie! The tree is gorgeous–what a beautiful thing, too…a 70-year old tree planted by your grandfather. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you thought so, it really did wonders for me to spend some time out in nature, even if it was a bit chilly. Yeah, I love my Grandpa’s tree, it’s pretty darn special! 😀


  13. The tree is beautiful, even on a gray day. Glad you enjoyed the nature walk! I get the cold-weather hives too, especially on damp windy days. But if the weather is tolerable I like to go outside and run a few miles, otherwise I would just sit around all winter and get sluggish.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m glad you got out and found some beauty to lift your spirits. And you found so much beauty! Your sycamore is lovely! One of my friends spent most of her life in Minnesota and she told me the winters were very gray. But it looks like a nice, wintry gray! Our gray here tends to be a more dirty gray. It definitely gets to me after awhile. I hope some cheerier colors are in your forecast!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Trisha, some cheerier colors are in the forecast – I’m enjoying a lovely sunrise this morning. I think maybe that was partly what contributed to my feeling low – with all the gloom, I’ve missed watching the sun come up in the mornings. That and hormones. 😉 I’ve never thought of our winters here as being very gray, either that or I just never noticed before.


  15. Gloomy days can be magical sometimes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank for sharing the heartwarming post! and you found $5 note ! i never find anything more that 25cents haha… you captured the magic of the sometimes gloomy season 🙂 looking a little deeper…<3


  17. It was noticeably gray here yesterday, and as such, my energy was a lot lower. I read a clever tweet, stating that yesterday, Chicago looked like a Tim Burton movie, and as I drove through downtown Indy in the evening, I thought that was apt.
    I do suffer a bit from the SAD, mostly lack of energy and insomnia, but next month is usually the worst of it, so not too bad so far 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had a peek of sunshine yesterday, but it’s another gray morning here today. Gloomy weather really has a way of sapping your energy doesn’t it, I’m not feeling very motivated to do much of anything and I’ve got tons to do. The temps are supposed to be mild again today though so maybe another nature outing in is order. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Lovely prose and pictures. And thanks for making me giggle, Julie. Gotta love 5 when it shows up as money.

    Blessings on your weekend ~ Wendy ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Wendy! It was really great finding that $5, and then seeing that number 5 sculpture just made it extra fun! 😀
      Have a lovely weekend and blessings to you too!


  19. That is the perfect quote for me as well. I’m glad you were able to get outside for a bit of a lift and how nice to share your walk with your daughter. The weather has been strange this winter, one of extremes, it seems. Enjoy your weekend, Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would definitely imagine that quote resonating with you too, Eliza. Yes, it really was wonderful getting outside for a bit. I know what you mean, the weather has been strange. I’d rather it was colder and snowier here because with this mild gray weather I’m getting a touch of spring fever, and I know that is still months away, so it only prolongs the agony of waiting. 😉
      Thanks so much Eliza, hope you enjoy your weekend too!


      • I’m pulling out my Eckhard Tolle for a refresher on staying present (and seeing the good in it) because this has been a challenging winter for me as well. At our latitude, we know we have a long stretch yet. I don’t know if reading our southern bloggers’ posts of what is popping up in their gardens already is such a good thing! 😉 It certainly is practice for fending off envy and celebrating the Now!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I think there is beauty all around. I do not like gloomy days they are very depressing. I try to make myself go outside and take pictures of birds and sometimes I get to see some new ones. The birds do not seem to mind the weather as much as we do. I am waiting for spring it is my favorite time of year. This has been a very long winter in our part of Texas much colder than usual..

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Loved reading the story, and I DO think that #5 was/is a sign!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Lovely walk and I’m thinking you should have bought a lottery ticket with the number ‘5.’

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A wonderful post. I loved the photos and the story to go with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Reblogged this on tulabugblog.


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