Thursday, January 8, 2015

January

"January" 

The days are short, 
The sun a spark, 
Hung thin between 
The dark and dark. 

Fat snowy footsteps 
Track the floor. 
Milk bottles burst 
Outside the door. 

The river is 
A frozen place 
Held still beneath 
The trees of lace. 

The sky is low. 
The wind is gray. 
The radiator 
Purrs all day.

-John Updike


The skies oscillate between blue-grey, white-grey and darkness. The weather report has read '-35 with windchill' for days. I used to think the accompanying feeling for wintertime was melancholy. Everything, it seemed, was dead or dormant; lifeless trees were only animated by whipping, cold winds. Now, I think wintertime brings a kind of peaceful introspection I'll call slumber- gazing.  Everything is sleepy, the landscape calls me home and into the warmth. Even looking out my window brings on a yawn. And in that quiet, my body doesn't fall asleep, but rests as my mind awakens. 


Making goals, new story ideas, inspiration in the kitchen, new art projects to try with the girls on another cold day. And then deeper. Better meditations, more honesty, the mental agility to try new ways of giving my family a more even-keeled mama. Insightful journal entries that show me what I'm made of. Seeing a rare sunbeam hit a tree covered in ice and immediately thinking of a hundred ways to describe its beauty. Better yet, stopping everything I was doing to observe the complex, God-given artwork in front of me, and worshipping the light.


Winter brings me back to the Yukon. To cold days, long nights, and a winter that dictated the course of our years there. The nostalgia is instant. The moment I slip into my Canada Goose jacket, the one handed down to me from a sled-dog musher when she moved South, I feel a sense of adventure. I feel like I am about to push myself to limits I hadn't yet explored, and see what's there. And truly, I did that today. I wore my Yukon jacket, heavy-duty snow pants and beaver mitts, with Summer strapped to my chest, (crying), Hailey and Robin bundled in the stroller in front of me, Abby holding my elbow. Though the effort of the walk to school had me working up a sweat, I pushed myself (and the stroller). I found a new place for me to practice patience, and awaken to the frost surrounding me, exiting my lungs in a cloud hanging over Summer's face. We are tough, I told my girls. 


We are excited for tobogganing, outdoor skating, hikes and bird-feeding when the air warms up, but until then, we hibernate. Just as we know to do when the weather forbids us from much outdoor play. Today, that meant puzzles, manicures, slow-cooker dinner, books, baking, Backyardigans and nap time. 

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