“EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL in its own way, like a starry summer night on a snow-covered winter’s day.”

Recognize those lyrics from Ray Stevens and his No. 1 hit song “Everything is Beautiful” from 1970? Kind of sums up what we here in the North Woods live with every day of the year, be it with a spring rain shower, hummingbirds working a flower bed in summer, a maze of brilliant fall color or the first glistening white snowfall of winter.

Many folks who don’t ski, ice fish, snowmobile or otherwise recreate in the “Great White North” get a little stir crazy when they can’t get out to enjoy the beauty that the season brings.

What a snowbound winter day, or worse yet, a snowbound winter season means, is that sometimes you just have to bring the outdoors indoors.

How, you ask?

I get out a lot during the winter, be it taking the dogs for a run, skiing or simple moonlit walks along a country road with my lovely wife. Still, there are days when I have to bring the outdoors indoors or at least some days feel that way. Fortunately, I have an easy way to do it.

When you step in the door of my house, you quickly see all the pieces of the outdoors that have been brought indoors.

You can begin by looking at the mounts I have on my walls. That 8-point buck guarding the entrance door is one I tagged the second morning of the 1982 season; my first “big buck.”

Above a bookshelf is a beautiful greenhead mallard drake looking over the living room, making sure all is well and in order each day. An 8-pound walleye, taken from Big Muskellunge Lake many years ago on a dark as pitch night, reminds me of the threat I made to a companion then that he would be swimming after it if he bungled getting it into the boat.

My first “trophy” brown trout taken fly fishing, a husky 19 incher caught on Elk Creek outside of Eau Claire, is a happy reminder of my college fishing days. My very first gobbler, a 23 1⁄2 pounder taken in Missouri looks down the stairwell leading to our lower story bedroom.

All of these, plus a Canada goose on a wall in the bedroom and a “horn” mount of my biggest buck ever, taken early the first morning of the 1995 deer season, is another constant reminder of how I have been blessed with outdoor opportunities.

Much of what I love most about the outdoors is displayed in the works of wildlife art that grace the walls of several rooms in the house.

A few of the greatest wildlife artists in American history are represented in my collection that you can see. Others have been relegated to storage in closets on orders from the lady of the house who insists she be given some room on the walls for artwork by local artists she has known. Some are of spiritual scenes; some, like a brilliant male cardinal painting, are another reminder of the great outdoors we enjoy in our neck of the woods.

It’s hard to pick one favorite of my prints so I’ll tell you about my top five. Because they are my very favorite duck in all the world, two wood duck renderings, each featuring a drake and hen pair in typical North Woods settings, are right at the top, both done by Art Long.

After that, a mixed flock of mallards and pintails work by David Maass, which was chosen to become the Ducks Unlimited 70th anniversary print, headlines prints in my bedroom.

It very much reminds me of such a mixed flock from which I once took a beautiful drake of each species as they winged past me after passing out of range from Tennessee John on the other end of a North Dakota slough. I often remind him of who got the ducks that day.

One of the all-time greats of the wildlife art world was Owen Gromme. His wildlife paintings are regarded as some of the best ever produced. I had enough spare dollars at a Ducks Unlimited dinner one year to buy a print of his featuring bluewing teal. It is one of my best possessions.

Rounding out my top five is a print of a flock of wigeon winging across a tree-lined pond. I have shot but a few of this species in my nearly 30 years of hunting North Dakota and I have regarded each as a true beauty, in the hand and roasting pan.

While prints dominate my art collection, the two most meaningful works of art I have are raised wood carvings done by my Uncle Neal Long while he was in his late 80s.

One is a beautiful brook trout, painted in exacting detail. It is on a wall right next to that brown trout mount I spoke of earlier. The other carving is of a Canada goose lifting off a pond with cattails in the background. “Heading South” is etched into the cherry wood plank.

Along with wood ducks, the Canada goose is in a virtual tie for first place among my favorite waterfowl, and each spring and fall when a honking flock passes over, I think of Uncle Neal and the two wonderful gifts he left me.

So you see, even in the tail end weeks of winter, when many people are dog-tired of snow and cold, when they can’t wait to get back outdoors on water that isn’t frozen or walk woodland trails that aren’t knee deep in snow, there is always a way to bring the outdoors indoors.