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Monday, February 09, 2015

Goodbye Winter



There is beauty in winter, a deep stillness devoid of any distraction or stimulation that allows you to deeply connect with yourself.  The uncontrollable rush and tumble of thought, desires, intentions and worries all dwindle to a trickle.  You can’t feel this in any other season.  Even the blood in your body pushes inward, protecting the vital organs.  White crusty snow crunching underfoot, black sky dissected by the bare brown arms of hibernating trees.  All sounds muted in the world except for your own breath, your own lonely heartbeat.  It’s wonderful.
And for most of my life I’ve HATED it.  Now that we only have a couple months left of a ‘real’ winter, I find myself waxing nostalgic about both the Canadian winters I grew up in and the Virginia winters I’ve adjusted to recently.  I’m really going to miss it in Houston.  Recently a friend told me hey, there’s humidity in Houston but you don’t have to shovel it….very true.
THINGS I WONT MISS: I won’t miss shoveling the driveway.  Then shoveling again when the plow goes by.  Scraping the windshield before work in the morning.  Scraping it again when I leave for the day.  Navigating icy side-walks and sweeping all the extra sand and salt out of the entryway five times a day.  Taking twenty minutes to bundle up before I leave the house.  Cold steering wheels, cold engines that take forever to heat up.  Dry skin, static electricity hair, getting up in the dark and coming home after dark.  Wait, what was I going to miss about winter again!?   
It was warm enough one day last week to open the windows for the first time all winter.  There is nothing like the feeling of letting in a flood of warm sun and fresh air after a stale couple months of dry heated air.  Hello JOY.  Fresh air, warm sun, is there anything better!?
We went for a walk down King Street in Old Town which is always fun on an unusually warm day last week.  Loads of people and THEIR dogs and babies were out in droves to take advantage of the first warm day in months.  We had a fun encounter with a VERY LARGE, beautiful great dane who came about to my shoulder.  He had to bend down, waaaaaay down to touch noses with my little Chihuahua mix, Toby.
The whole walk was like a reminder that there is life beyond the stifling cold of a house-bound winter.  It’s weird but it's like I’m a different PERSON in winter.  I’m more subdued, reserved, as if the layers of clothing serve to layer my heart, too.  I feel muffled and stifled and cold not just in my body but in my soul, too.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am a completely different person in winter but I am definitely more fun, more outgoing, more adventurous, friendlier, in short, happier in summer.  More free.  I wonder what it will do to my personality not to have ‘winter me’ show up at all.  It’s just a move to another state but is it possible it will move ME to another state of being?  A happier one maybe, a warmer one for sure.  Change is scary but it’s FUN too.  Anyone need a straight laced button-down turtleneck with holes for the thumbs?  I’ve got fifteen and I won’t be needing them anymore….