Marchand believes that winter is unfairly misunderstood, associated with 'stillness, darkness, and death.' Yet as each spring attests, living things somehow manage to reappear. To determine how, the ecologist spent 13 long and lonesome winters outdoors, traveling by snowshoe in Vermont and Colorado's Rockies studying the forces of winter and the ways that plants and animals cope with extreme cold, dryness, decreased sunlight, and severe conditions. In this book Marchand bolsters his own work with research from physics, meteorology, plant and animal physiology, and physical chemistry. But he pulls it all together admirably into a panoramic view of the winter ecosystem. He discovers many fascinating facts and destroys lots of preconceptions.