Our windows have been covered in ice crystals for days. I like to pretend that our bedroom windows have transformed into frosted forests; and the others are covered in intricate layers of sparkling lace. This is a morning photo that Vinny took. Our world is brittle and cold--even by my standards. Things break easily in this weather. Last time I checked, it was -35 degrees.
Having worked all day, it feels especially nice to be home. We ate big bowls of homemade chili with freshly baked cornbread for supper. The furnace runs almost constantly, trying to keep up with the cold outside. These old houses are not insulated well, but I have a healthy dose of candles and incense burning to complete the perceived sensation of warmth.
Lately, I've been catching myself looking forward to summer. This catches me off guard, because I'm a winter soul at heart. Whether I'm walking the dog or waiting for the car to warm up, for some reason, I find myself daydreaming of green grass, easy walks, and hot humid afternoons spent napping under the ceiling fan in the bedroom.
Winter in the city has been harder than winters up north. I feel more isolated here. It's strange, but it is harder to get places. You would think the opposite would be true--but, in my case, it's not. Even walking Anu in the woods has become more difficult. They've turned all of our favorite trails into cross-country ski trails--walkers are not welcome. Because of this, our routes have become limited and so, lately, these woods have been making me feel bored and irritated and like I'm going to get in trouble for something.
Last year, I spent much of the winter running with Anu on the frozen lake. Out in the middle of all that big-white-nothing, we were happy as could be. I don't miss that town, but I miss the lake. I miss the open space. And I miss all those acres of ski trail-less, people-less woods. It is space that I miss having the most. I have space here...(lots of it, actually), but it's different. It is easily interrupted.
These past few weeks of winter have been oddly unsatisfying. And now this cold...it is intense. But I've decided to use it to my advantage. I've taken the next week off from work to get some real work done. It's too hard to accomplish much with only a day or two here or there. I need a chunk of time and decided to take it. I wish it could be more than 5 days...but I'll take what I can get. Anyway, 5 days is a lot like heaven--and I'm grateful for it.
Winter is the symbolic time of "going within." And, while many people can't stand the idea of all those cold, dark months, I've always looked forward to it. For me, it is a time of hunkering down, a time of of reflection. It is a quiet time, a time to focus inward.
And because there is nothing else I can really do about it...I've decided to renew my appreciation for winter.
I'm going to spend the next 5 days:
- wearing big, wool sweaters
- and fleece pajamas underneath
- and fuzzy socks
- and slippers
- burning candles
- and incense
- and more candles
- enjoying the ice crystals that form on the windows
- getting up in the early morning dark to write
- drinking large amounts of coffee...including lattes and mochas (because the colder it is, the better they taste)
- snuggling my cats
- and my dog
- and my husband
- taking long hot baths before bed
- eating warm, home-cooked food
- not answering my phone
- hanging out in my office with the door closed
- with my star lamp turned on
- wrapped in soft, warm blankets
- and yep, you guessed it...writing
In short, I'm going to hibernate.
It has been a long winter. But, despite such extreme cold, I've decided to use it to my advantage.