"It was a cold still afternoon with a hard steely sky overhead, when he [Mole] slipped out of the warm parlour into the open air. The country lay bare and entirely leafless around him, and he thought that he had never seen so far and so intimately into the insides of things as on that winter day when Nature was deep in her annual slumber and seemed to have kicked the clothes off. Copses, dells, quarries and all hidden places, which had been mysterious mines for exploration in leafy summer, now exposed themselves and their secrets pathetically, and seemed to ask him to overlook their shabby poverty for a while, till they could riot in rich masquerade as before, and trick and entice him with the old deceptions. It was pitiful in a way, and yet cheering -- even exhilarating. He was glad that he liked the country undecorated, hard, and stripped of its finery. He had got down to the bare bones of it, and they were fine and strong and simple."Personally, I find it hard to feel as positive as Mole. I find the bleakness of winter anything but exhilarating, but reading the book makes me almost believe that I like the landscape that way too. To really enjoy winter I have to get out and run - or cycle. The "high" one gets from exercise makes the world look wonderful at any time of year. It leaves you feeling warm, too.
As I've mentioned before, the beck that runs past our gate has the tenuous claim to fame that it may have inspired the river in the book, as it runs through the grounds of a nearby "big house" where Grahame sometimes stayed. However, I suspect this claim is made for just about any watercourse that passes near any of his known haunts!