If it looks cold, it probably is. Complaints like flinty fleck of sleet fly through the air: the road is slick; the car is cold; the trees are bare.
And from every woman’s lips, “I look fat in my long underwear.” Well, that’s true. You do look fat in your waffle-weave thermals. Waddling as you walk is not a good look. On the other hand, you can take heart that with your clothing off – in the shower or the sauna at Club America, you look slimmer.
As night lengthens, it is easy to cycle down and get depressed. I am highly dependent on the sun, and I work hard to rise above the darkness and the cold.
It helps to remember that some of our neighbors sleep in poorly insulated homes and warming a bracing cup of tea or coffee in the microwave is not an option. Nor are we standing on the street corner with a “willing to work” sign. Nor are we eating at a soup kitchen or ‘sleeping rough.’
Cold and despair are relative.
Wintering over my summer geraniums works for me. To have something growing and blooming, that’s the thing.
Yes, I’ll have to prune them. And the pruning is painful. Cutting off every leggy bloom is painful. Does the geranium register pain? I’m reminded when, as a small child, my mother would spank me saying, “This is for your own good. You’ll thank me when you are older.” Will my geraniums look past their pain and thank me when they are older? Probably not.
This remembering business takes me back many years to a good friend living in Canon City. It was fall when her husband of 50-plus years died, and after his death, Florence was so busy with death duties that she forgot about the spring bulbs she had planned to plant.
By the time she had pulled herself together, winter had set in. Noticing the neglected bulbs, she tossed them out in the snow. Not the next spring, but a year-and-a-half later, she phoned: “The bulbs… the bulbs! They’re blooming! Bill has come back to say Hello!”
I tell this story because it cheers me and also reminds me that although winter looms, winter is a rest period. We rest so that come spring, we can bloom again.
Come December I pull my great-grandmother’s velvet quilt out of the blanket chest. Old quilts should be unrolled and used at least once a year. The story behind velvet quilt is that at age twelve, my grandfather Irion was apprenticed to a milliner in Utica, NY. In those days, milliners would buy a basic hat, but the dressing of the hat (the fabrics, the feathers, the fruit, etc.) happened in-house. The woman who was purchasing the hat would sit before a three-way, beauty parlor mirror, and Grandpa would style the hat on her head.
Early on, when Grandpa was still delivering hats by bicycle, he asked if he could have the velvet scraps lying on the floor. These he took home to his widowed mother who supported her sons by hand sewing bound-buttonholes in men’s winter coats. In her free time, she sewed the strips together… again by hand. I love the one orange strip – a hopeful strip in a quilt that is primarily black and burgundy. I love the story and the hopefulness of this orange stripe. Also, if the winter sun hits the quilt just right, I have the most perfect example of “sunlight and shadow.”
Shadow today / Sunlight tomorrow.