The temperature has been in the teens or lower for two weeks now, and while I’m all for some snow in early January, I thought I left the cold when I moved here. Funny, right? The whole nation shivers underneath grey skies laden with snow, or blue, sunny skies filled with finger-numbing cold and we huddle around fires or hot tea. Whatever we can get our fingers wrapped around that will warm our bodies and hopefully, our souls.
So up here at the top of the house, where I perch in the warmest room (my bedroom, yeah!) and wait out the weather, I decided to read something uplifting every day, to eat better (more veggies), work out five days a week. Maybe take some yoga classes with other people, so it’s not just me at home, alone. Going to bed earlier so I can be synchronized with the rest of the world (and with my early bird husband). Um, there has to be more… Less chocolate. More visiting family. Joining a book group. Finish that book, and hey, I’m on the fourth re-write and think it will be completed by February. It’s too much, isn’t it? Do you do the same thing? Set yourself up, precariously positioned to fall off the wagon within the first week of your new, firm resolve? Well, what we thought was firm. Who knew? Getting through this cold seems enough somedays.
Lets’ decide to thaw our minds even while our bodies determinedly, doggedly make it through this span of freezing days. Days when all I want to do is stand under the hot shower or linger longer in my warm cocoon of a bed. I make myself meet friends I neglected since before Thanksgiving, faithfully help out my kids when called to action, and I enjoy the stark, clean lines of post-Christmas in my home. The blankets piled high, fresh flowers singing spring that sit by the sink, and I can see my mantel again. Clean. Calm.
Every evening I watch the subtle pinks and blues of a mid-winter sunset. When I moved to Dayton my ninth year, my bedroom was painted the most delicate shade of lavender. I see the hue in this sunset, but have never been able to quite re-create that color that imbues my soul. Every bedroom in every house we moved to soothed my wrinkled mind, and when I’m lucky enough to spy the colors of my growing up years, I’m back in that house, in that time, surrounded with family, love and warmth.
It’s all about our minds, truly. I learned resiliency in Wisconsin. Zero degrees? Go out and run! Get ready for the “spring” track season, where we ran in thigh chilling weather, but we ran with a smile on our lips and laughed at the cold. The people up north know how to enjoy themselves, no matter what, and I admire their spirit. Standing in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field a few years back, when the Packers were losing to the Giants, the good-natured jokes thrown all around me, amazed me. Our team was losing! But standing in five degrees, listening to the fans enjoying the game, despite the likelihood of a loss, taught me a new lesson. No matter the circumstances, you can almost always find a moment (and hopefully days) of laughter, smiles and happiness.
While I post pics of my happy moments this past week, I still have many lessons to learn and I’m daunted at times by how far I have to go. Watching people in a winter season of life, from whatever source, carry a light within them, ready with a hug, a smile or an observation of utter wisdom, makes me long to know more. I want to be the one with the wisdom, even on days when winter fills every part of my life. When something monumentally awful happens to ones dear to me, am I still able to lift my head and see the beautiful lavender still in the sky? To notice the lovely flower arrangements that gifted hands created at the store? To feel the wonder of warmth from flames dancing in the hearth?
Out of my list of personal improvements I have this winter, I’m ready to at least read books brimming with inspiration. Who doesn’t need something excellent, good and pure to make us better? Sometimes it’s not about pursuing pleasure. It’s working hard when you want to quit. It’s about being true, good and honest. Maybe it’s about brightening someone else’s day even when yours is falling down around you. We all are slogging through this winter. We’re in this together. We’re going to make it to spring. Grab those people who laugh in the storm and keep on walking, and make them your people. Keep warm. Spring is right behind this winter. I’m starting to feel chilled again. Time for another pair of socks…
Warmly yours, deanna…
ps…impressed you found this, but I steadfastly refuse to give up drinking iced tea in this winter…it warms me up.