Here we are again. It’s that time of year when simply looking outside will send a chill through the bones of your body. I want to stay inside, pour another cup of coffee and crawl under a blanket. I feel tired. I know I must move and keep my kiddos moving too. It takes every ounce of my energy to get my children to put on their boots, gloves, hats and jackets. I chase them around the house, making incessant requests to listen to me so we can get some fresh air. I feel lonely. I miss spending hours outside in the warmth of the sun. I miss the little conversations with neighbors and other parents at the park. Those days seemed so effortless and bright. I feel lost. These days are bleak, and darkness comes too soon. But there are resolutions to make and goals to set. I begin to question myself. Am I doing this right? Am I going anywhere? Am I enough?
I wrap my hands around my mug of herbal tea before looking out the window. A layer of hard snow covers our backyard. Hundreds of frozen footsteps make trails from the back porch steps to the trees and shrubs that border our yard. Only a handful of leaves have managed to hold their grasp on the branches of our trees. It’s close to sunset, but the grey sky mutes the beauty of shades of pink and orange. Everything is still. Everything is calm. Too still, and too calm. I feel empty. A dead leaf suddenly catches my eye. The wind has invited it to dance across the snow. It glides 6 inches to the left, leaps off the ground and spins another foot to the right. The wind gently drops the leaf to the ground where it remains still once again. It’s beautiful and brutal to witness.
This is winter. This is the hardest part of winter for me. This is where I start again.
I take a sip of my tea, set my mug on the desk and release my grasp. It’s time to open the laptop and type. It’s time to let my fingers dance across the keypad. I don’t know what I will write about. I feel tired, lonely and lost, but there are beautiful shades of pink and orange hiding behind the grey sky. The bitter cold interrupts my plans and paralyzes me, but after some time, I find my layers and put them on. I open the door, step outside, and I breathe. I put one boot in front of the other. I search the ground and bushes for fallen branches, and I decide to build a fire. I watch the flames twirl in the wind, and once again, I feel the warmth of summer on my face.
Minnesota winters are brutal and beautiful. I want to avoid the cold slap of the wind on my face, but it’s the same cold slap I need to wake me up. I get lost in the comfort of patterns and habits. I build walls and then I retreat. I lose my momentum, and then I feel lost. When I finally glance out the window, I see there are patches of snow that have been left untraveled.
It’s a new year. It’s a new day. It’s time to get out and play in the snow.
This is winter. The hardest part is starting a new routine and embracing the cold. But there are new fires to start. And these fires will warm your soul.
Is your fire burning bright?