The raw weather has lulled me into hibernation, into self-reflection. It feels like the days are moving sluggishly, that cold has slowed time’s pulse. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep perspective, to remember that February will banish January. The temptation for pessimism can be great while waiting for that shorter month of longer days, until spring is close enough to smell.
“There is a lot of despair this time of year,” my friend said the other day. She’s a shrink so I guess she hears firsthand. It’s true that joy can flee suddenly, like birds gone south. I want to go with them.
The view from my bed out the window looks bleak at the moment, with trees dark against a background of grey skies, and branches hanging like skeletons from their limbs. Charlie circles a time or two in her bed under my nightstand, and then curls up into a Corgi ball. She makes soft grunts of contentment before drifting off to sleep. I envy her simple needs.
Winter is a dormant season, a resting period, for absorbing the nutrients that have fallen. But I have to resist the urge to rush from this place of quiet contemplation, this chilly room in my mind, where the freezing air clarifies my thoughts and fear punctures my chest like an icicle. Because if I don’t feel the cold, I won’t know when it’s hot.
And I couldn’t bear the same mild temperatures all year long, not when I’ve felt my blood roar through my veins like liquid fire. It would be like choosing to live in black and white instead of color. So I will expand and contract like the seasons, growing and dying a little bit every year in painful and joyous fluctuations.
My breath suddenly whispers through me in a warm gust, and softens fear’s sharp point.