Even as parts of Europe remain locked in abnormal warmth in spite of the calendar’s having been turned to a fresh new year—Muscovites might be forgiven for wondering if the calendar forgot winter—parts of North America have experienced cold that has not been witnessed for almost 20 years in some places.

An anonymous 16th Century writer once observed:

This winter’s weather it waxeth cold,
And frost it freezeth on every hill,
And Boreas blows his blast so bold
That all our cattle are like to spill.

Much time has passed, but those words ring true here in the early part of the 21st century. As I write this blog, the noon-time temperature in New York City is just 7°F (-13.9°C). The sun shines brilliantly, but in futility. A howling west-to-northwest gale prevails.

Of course, that’s a little warmer than the low figure of 4°F (-15.6°) from earlier in the morning, a reading that erased a daily record that had stood since 1896 (an era where the idea of mass photography was all but unimaginable and hosting sites such as Ipernity were even less imaginable).

No matter one’s weather-related preferences—some like snow, some like the cold, some like warmth, some like sunshine—one can find a warm and welcoming community across Ipernity’s expanding number of photos and members. Among the many images, one is sure to find some that are exactly what one is looking for, even forward to as the march through winter continues. Among those images, one is sure to kindle one’s own imagination and nourish one’s own creativity. One may also share one’s own priceless experiences further strengthening a sense of community that transcends national boundaries, languages, and climates. In this process, we are all reminded a timeless lesson: the world is a beautiful place.

Have a great 2014!