Soft flakes fall from the sky, blanketing the sleeping earth in white. Icicles stand in jagged relief against the sides of houses, and the world is quiet. Waiting for spring to come again, resting after the mad dash of the holiday season, giving nature a chance to rejuvenate.
It’s the time of year for hot cocoa, for snowball fights and sledding, for snow forts and cheeks bright red with the cold. Now is when we pause and hibernate, watching the snow falling outside the window while a fire crackles in the fireplace. Sipping hot tea, a rabbit bounding across the fresh white expanse leaving clear tracks to mark its passing.
Dark nights meant for contemplation, long walks in the crisp air, looking up at the stars. Night comes early in the winter. Everything slows down and becomes still and quiet.
Winter is my least favorite season. Maybe it’s partly because I live in the city, but winter for me means gray slush everywhere, drivers clogging the roads when so much as a single flake falls from the sky, and sliding around turns in my neighborhood, hoping the slide stops before the neighbor’s car stops it for me.
People don’t slow down; winter is when school and loads of other activities occur. Sitting beside a quiet fire watching the snow fall is all well and good, but when there’s homework to be done or an activity to rush to, quiet moments are shoved aside in the mad dash to accomplish.
Most of the icicles I see live on the bottom of my car, and they definitely are not crystal clear – more of a muddy color. After a few temperature swings, the snow blanketing the ground looks quite soggy, patches of brown earth peeking through. Salt makes its insidious creep into the fibers of my car, laying the groundwork for dark rust spots.
The sun goes away so much earlier in the winter, and it’s so easy to feel down in the dumps with no sun. During the day, the sun often hides behind a gray sky, shading the world in gray. Far from a pristine white blanket, the backyard is covered in uneven lumps of show, sprinkled with other gifts, courtesy of the dog.
I find myself grumbling about winter almost daily. I will never understand why some people proclaim it their favorite season.
But this winter, I am choosing to make it a season of reflection, planning, and dreaming.
Rather than sulking in my bedroom every night after work because the sun has already gone down, I am choosing to take the dog for walks in the cold darkness or make goals complete with action plans for 2015. (Okay, I do still sulk in my bedroom some nights. I can only handle so much cold and darkness at once.)
Rather than allowing myself to be caught up in hustle and bustle, my calendar full of activities, I am choosing to be quiet and still in the events and with the people I value most.
Rather than complaining endlessly while with my horse in the unheated barn that my toes are numb and my nose is dripping, I am choosing to be thankful for the indoor arena and riding my horse bareback (she’s like my own personal heater).
Rather than lamenting that I have no idea what I am doing with my life and feel directionless, I am choosing to remember that right now, it is winter. After four crazy years in college, I am in a season of reflection and reassessment. Maybe big things aren’t happening in my life right now, but that’s okay.
Spring will come.
(Fellow recent graduates, I hold scheduled lamentation sessions every Friday from 6 to 8 pm. Please bring tissues to share. Lamentation may occur only within scheduled hours.)