My favorite time of year (other than a week of summer vacation at the beach with a good book, naturally) is the time between Christmas and New Year. The boys are home from school, the alarms clocks switched off, the hectic pre-holiday schedule only a fond memory. Cookies and treats still remain to be eaten, new toys occupy grateful and happy children, and when the sun shines, it shimmers in the soft December air.

As I shot these during that last week of December at the Morris Arboretum, the boys ran happily nearby through green grass (and a healthy dose of winter mud) that still sprang beneath their feet. The wind was blowing, but not bitterly so, and the sunshine was strong enough to warm our faces and hands.  Perhaps in the depths of February, I will look back on these and remember that winter isn’t always steel grey skies and frozen earth. Sometimes it is gentle and warm indeed.