In the bleak mid-winter

We’ve nearly reached the end of February, and with it the end of my patience regarding winter. A blizzard warning here today, and my reaction to that is simply:

NO. Just…no.

I’m ready for warmth and color and sunshine. I want to ride my bike. I want to go outside without first putting on 17 layers of clothing. I want to mow my lawn and smell fresh grass and see flowers blooming in my garden. I want to see Clover, the little bunny who lives under the big cedar in the backyard and know that she’s alright.

I’m sick to death of gray and white and day after day without a hint of sunshine. I’m sick of boots and gloves and having to brush off my car in the parking lot at work before I can return home. I’m sick of shoveling.

Before I could do laundry this morning, I had to wade through thigh-high snow to get to the place where the dryer vent on the side of the house was buried and dig out a trough to unblock it. When I came in I had to put my jeans and socks in the dryer cuz they were soaked through.

Throughout the entire 20-minute or so ordeal, I was thinking, “WHY am I doing this?” Other people do not live like this.

I’m winter-weary and just generally fed up.

The reality is, though, that we’re nowhere near the end of winter here in Michigan, and Mother Nature couldn’t care less about how I feel. She’s just doing her thing – same as every year – and she’s not ready to give up the cold and snow just yet.

So…I have to change my thinking. I can’t change how I feel about the weather, but I can change how I think about it. I wish I could say there were some things I appreciate about winter – that would go a long way toward thinking about it differently, but there isn’t even one thing I can think of that I like about it.

Let’s see…nope. I got nothin’.

So I’ll just have to work at acceptance, as I do with so many things in my life over which I have no power, and remind myself that it could be a lot worse. Yes, we have snow – so much snow – but we don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes. Also, most of the deadly little creatures on the planet – snakes and insects and other nasty critters – can’t live in the cold, so I have to worry less about meeting my death by inadvertently stepping on one of them than someone who is basking in sunshine and warmth right now.

So not all bad. I’m not likely to lose my house in the blizzard today – power maybe, but that will be temporary, if at all, and if I don’t freeze to death in my house without power, I’m golden!

How am I doing? A stretch, I know. Acceptance of the things I don’t like but can’t change is a toughie for me. Endurance is hard. I want change, and I want it now! I saw a quote yesterday that said, “You’re not a tree – MOVE!”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? And sometimes possible. Not for me, though, cuz the old lady is welded to this place and all its misery. Ah, the old lady – another thing I can’t change or control.

My challenge: Acceptance of life as it presents itself to me in the moment. Endurance ongoing.

Going on.

Yes, that’s it. Just keep going. Spring has never failed to come. Until it manifests itself in the outer world, I’ll have to nurture it within. Light and new growth.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

 Only 3 1/2 months to go…

 

 

Ode to Snow

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Snow, snow,
so white and bright,
winter cold and deadly blight.
Shoveling madly,
watching more fall,
getting plowed in,
wanting to bawl.
O lovely snow,
you make me so sad,
I just want some warmth,
I want it so bad!
To ride my bike,
to sweat and see green,
alas and alack,
there’s none to be seen,
just white all around,
day after day.
When does it end?
Please take me away!
To sweet summer climes
with flowers abloom,
and trees that have leaves,
and birds that zoom,
and sing summer’s song
of color and life;
instead of this cold
that cuts like a knife,
and snow, snow,
horrid old snow,
that blows and buries
and just won’t go.
Just two more months,
but will I survive?
I have before,
I’ve stayed alive.
It’s awful stuff,
this wretched snow.
It’s time to go, man,
quit, and BLOW!

The sun came shining through

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I am inexplicably optimistic this morning. It’s Monday, it’s winter (6 months left to go, and it’ll get much much worse before it gets better), almost exactly 6 weeks to go til Christmas – my least favorite holiday – and I haven’t even started thinking about presents. I’m facing the prospect of a new year still with my mother and still in this job. There are other ucky things on the immediate horizon – a doctor’s appointment, our annual All-Staff Meeting at work, starting a gym membership cuz it’s getting too snowy and cold to be outside. (Ugh.)

Other icky winter things: Shoveling. Boots. Coats. Hats. Mittens/gloves. Cold. Ridiculous heating bills for the house I don’t live in, and outrageous water bills cuz I have to run the water in the kitchen so the pipes don’t freeze. Cold. Crap driving and crap drivers. Did I mention shoveling? Oh, and it’s COLD. But the worst part –

No sun. For days and days and days. ~shudder~

However, I have new tires, so driving will be less scary this year and I won’t get stuck in the parking lot at work everyday like last year. Yay! I get a longevity check in December and a raise in January, so I’ll be a little richer. Yay! I have 2 additional days off this week and 6 additional days off in December. Yay!

I have good books to read and I will get more for Christmas and my birthday and while I’m sitting inside for hours and hours, unable to go outside cuz snow and cold and wind, I can read, read, read! Possible this winter, unlike the past few years, cuz I have introduced my mother to the wonder of downloadable audio books that she can listen to on the phone I gave her (and she has finally learned to use), with EARBUDS. So we don’t watch DVDs so much anymore, and we can sit together in our cozy living room and read our books.

That is such a good thing! Yay! There are many good things, and today I’m in a place mentally and emotionally in which I can see those good things and be grateful for them. I haven’t been there for a few weeks, and I’m almost afraid to write that or think that or say it out loud, cuz generally when the universe has any inkling that I’m feeling good, it goes out of its way to kick me in the teeth almost immediately.

Paranoid? Ya, maybe. Whatever.

I had a nice weekend, including a long walk yesterday in the sunshine, even though I had to keep my head focused on the ice under my boots so I didn’t fall, and a shorter, snowier walk on Saturday that was nice, too. I had a few chores to do, but mostly I read and ate well and walked and relaxed. It was good. It was restorative.

Now it’s back to work, and so far it’s a crappy Monday, but it’s a short week as I have Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving, my second favorite holiday. (Easter is my favorite holiday – Spring, rebirth; I get giddy thinking about it.) Also, our best cook/baker brought in cake, so there’s that. Cake makes everything better. Always.

I bought a turkey breast and a frozen pumpkin pie and I’m going to be spending much of Thursday cooking, but that’s okay. Turkey and mashed potatoes and crescent rolls and Sara Lee pumpkin pie with Cool Whip. It’ll be awesome. We usually go out for T-day dinner, but as mom doesn’t leave the house anymore, we’re staying in – which I’m all about this year. What could be better than being in my jammies smelling turkey roasting and pie baking, hanging out with my mom and the cats? Turkey sandwiches and pie all weekend. Yay!

Then 3 WHOLE DAYS of not really that much that has to be done. Regular chores – cooking, dishes, blah, blah, but nothing that requires a lot of effort or even being dressed. Walking (I’ll put pants on) if it’s not too late November-y, (the forecast looks promising), and reading (new book from the library I got on my walk yesterday), and eating, eating, eating.

Perfect. The last two Thanksgivings were fairly crappy, so I feel like I’m due a good one. Two years ago our sewer drain clogged and it was not pleasant being in the house for 4 days. (‘Nough said.) Last year, our dinner out was hella expensive and not very good, so it was a big  disappointment, and mom and I got in a big fight about something and it overshadowed the whole weekend.

So I’m optimistic. There are things I like about winter, and things I like about Christmas, and I’m going to try to focus on those things and let the rest go. Soon it will be my birthday and that’s great, and then St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter and then Spring. Spring. Spring! It goes quickly, I know.

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Welcome winter.