Among my friends who live in the seasonally cathartic climes this is a common sentiment. It seems like this year we have had an especially long one, full of heavy doses of snow, ice, rain, and sleet. Several counties in the more remote areas even experienced power outages that lasted for days if not weeks. There is a price you pay for seclusion. They'll end up a few degrees cooler all summer long, so I guess you have to play the averages.
This very winter has almost gotten me to make some foolish choices. I tend to lump the whole of my circumstances together and cover myself with them as if they were throw pillows all representing varying degrees of complications. When I stand up they scatter to the sides. If I fall down again, instead of caring for them individually and placing them where I can strategically land, they will be in random locations and may or may not break my fall.
But I did say "almost," and for that I am now thankful.
It's interesting how I'm letting this winter get to me. Finally, something I can't actually control unless I change my location. Finally, something that I could predict with a watchmaker's accuracy. Finally, something that I know as well, if not better, than I know myself.
And I have said from the beginning that perspective is the most important tool one can have available to avail oneself from almost any adverse situation.
The seasons connive to distract us, to wear us down, to lull us into a dreamlike state, to keep us occupied while they plan their escape. For once a season has exploded onto our calendar it is in constant regression as reserves from the next wave ready to advance.
I will opt, at this moment, to focus on the seemingly incongruous intricacies that our seasons cloak us in.
During the winter, my fireplace becomes a source of comfort and unpredictable delights; my windows become anathema. They are merely a thief to steal away the very air that allows my existence indoors, while at the same time giving me a view of just what exactly the season is capable of--from its first snowfall that kisses the ground with a startling but consensual advance, to the ravages of salt, sand, soot, and on through its many facelifts--a touch-up here, a massive tuck there--finally succumbing to the pressure and uniform reaction of the earth's proximity to its benefactor.
In the summer, my windows blow me kisses. They draw me close to them with the promise of a cool breeze, an explosion of aromas, or just the ingrained association with escape (to a lover, from a fire, or both); my fireplace, though, is an ex that I could never imagine calling on for any reason, let alone learning to trust again.
In the spring, the ground is an ever evolving work of art sprouting bursts of color upon an ever widening background, seemingly unfinished through the summer, until its creator is through with its showing, haphazardly covering it with a blanket of autumn leaves--itself a work of art--and we are left to wonder if what we had witnessed for so long remains underneath to be seen ever again. Of course, most of these pieces will be shown to the public next year; many are on loan to another museum; others, though, have been stolen by crooks who clandestinely shuttle them in bunches from one safehouse to another under cover of an idea that the world is littered with them--that there are plenty to go around, and one patch of dirt should hold no copyright on its contents.
In the winter, my shades are more often open than drawn, allowing whatever subsidies the sky will grant to help warm me--the same sky that dropped the uncountable droplets of water that taunt me as they strengthen their resolve.
Soon my rooms will cry for this shade as the sun grills them for information. If I happen to forget to pull them before I leave the house they will require some extra rehabilitation upon my return. A hundred fans just seem to shuffle the discontented air around like a bound band of inmates clawing with untrimmed nails that ferry feculent sweat through the path of least resistance. And the room with the most promise--the one that I consider the best appointed suitor--sits with its windows closed waiting for me to turn the knob that will suck the moist, heavy air from its corners and replace it with freon infused vitality.
The air that presently hangs above me as I sit slippered on the couch overtakes my periphery like a crowd of self propelled supporters as I rise to full stride and walk towards its ethereal cheering, getting louder as it gets warmer; voices becoming more familiar as my confidence subsequently quickens; swirling all around me. But I must remember that it is a fickle throng that buoys me forward. It is constantly shifting and changing its members. And worse than that, is the knowledge that they are in my employ. They are being paid to be there. They are my whores.
But this is February, and I am happy to have them. For in a matter of months this same block of space above my head will turn on me and protest my comfort. The very air that colluded to assuage my anxiety will become picketers. They will wave their signs in my general direction and blast their heat my way as I make the same journey from my couch--sandals on my feet--and run to the refrigerator for some ice water.
And I have to be ready for it all.
Every day is a golden age if we choose to apply the proper qualifications.
What do we really want? Is a life of Californian stasis a proper serum for the New Englander's winter malaise? Not if you ask me. But I like to know that it is there if I needed it. It is an option, a possibility, a choice.
For me, I would rather train my senses day in and day out for the next contender. It makes me, if not stronger, than certainly more experienced. And, while each weight group must conform to a set of agreed upon conditions and regulations, the reach of their punch and the fortitude of their constitution is always different. It keeps the blood moving to dance, to jump, to bounce off the ropes and, yes, even to embrace your opponent at the moment of near total exhaustion, until either the referee pulls you apart or the sound of the bell clangs and you get to sit for a precious moment, letting the people in your corner replenish your fluids and reassure your fears.
And then the bell sounds, and it's time to go again.
Thanks for reading.