I used to love winter. I looked forward to bundling up in layer upon layer, running outside to a wide white world of wonderment.
The property where our house was had six acres of hills and valleys, trees and a creek just waiting to be explored. Summers brought mowing, gardening, and chasing snakes and bunnies. But winter brought icicles and snow forts, a whitewashed canvas, refreshed periodically to a clean slate for tracking footprints and making snow angels. One winter, we got a snowmobile, and I was allowed to drive freely over the landscape many years before I would drive a car. Of course, by then I was already driving tractors, but that’s a story for a different day.
Winter was wonderful. My father was a farmer, so winter was down-time, or at least as much down-time as he ever took. He still worked every week day clearing and cleaning out the timber, prepping his machinery, and planning for the next planting. But there was also time for reading and talking. After the Christmas rush of parties, presents, and families, January and February were times to re-group, settling in by the massive fireplace to enjoy the simple luxury of spending time together. Or alone, most often caught up in the imaginary world of whatever book I was reading at the time.
Now, come winter, I still curl up with a good book, still look forward to creating meals of warm-comfort goodness, and long for a fireplace to ward off the cold of the winter’s evening. I still appreciate a good snow day, especially when it closes work and school so all can stay safely at home. But I don’t truly enjoy it the way I used to as a kid. I don’t bundle up and head out, full of plans for how to spend the chilly hours before coming back inside. I scuttle, crab-like, from warm house to car, warm car to work, and back again.
I want to be where winter is not. But for now, the best I can do is try to re-create summer, or at least spring, where I am instead. This year, I have brought spring inside, temporarily, by planting salad greens in our Aerogarden
and growing cat grass for our fur-faced child. And in my current work-in-progress, I am writing of summer. Long days, filled with warmth, even hot-sticky summer days. I just finished a scene set on the 4th of July. A picnic, fireworks, buzzing insects and scratchy grass. Feeling grass tickle a knee left bare by shorts. Long summer sunsets painting the sky. There are even moments when I forget that I can see snow on the patio outside the office window, that another winter storm with ice and snow is predicted for the upcoming week.
So as January winds to a close and I find myself Jan-u-weary of snow and ice and all things cold, I dig in a little deeper – to the dirt where grass for my cat grows, to nurturing my fragile salad greens hopefully into salads clear through until spring, and back into the work in progress, where summer is in full bloom.
It’s almost February, the shortest month, which means we’re closer to March and spring — I tell myself this on a regular basis. It helps me not feel as cold, or at least know it won’t last too much longer.
So tell me – how are you getting through your January days? Ready for spring? I am.