Self pity comes easily to me in the winter. I don’t like cold weather, and because my volunteer job entails walking shelter dogs three times a week in any and all weather, I spend way more time out in the cold than I want to. Even when I am inside my warm house, I am constantly plagued with dry skin, chapped lips and random shocks from static electricity. We have a humidifier, but from what I can tell, its main job is to fog up our windows. Even our wood furniture suffers, drying and cracking unless I’m diligently polishing it with lots and lots of lemon oil.
I hate having to put on a jacket just to take my trash out. I hate how much longer it takes me to get dressed in the winter, especially if we are going somewhere nice: slacks, shoes, socks, sweater, scarf, coat and gloves all need to be coordinated, and that’s far too much trouble for someone with my feeble fashion sense. Summer is so much easier, because then all I have to do is put on a pair of capris, a nice top, and some sandals, and I’m good to go just about anywhere.
And I especially hate the way I have to constantly supervise my dog whenever I let her out in the winter, because she persists in believing that those frozen treats she keeps finding (and eating) in our back yard are chocolate popsicles. They aren’t. More than once our neighbors have been treated to the sight of me charging out the back door late at night, clad only in my flannel pajamas, yelling, “Don’t you dare eat that, you dumb dog!” Lest you think I’m making too big a deal of this, I’d like to point out that if we do let her have her “snacks,” she eventually throws them up in our house, and always on my good rugs. So the vigilance continues…..
But then, in the middle of the cold and dark month of January, along comes a beautiful, sunny day with a high of sixty degrees. A day in which I can take a long walk around our neighborhood wearing only a heavy sweater; a day in which I can climb up the ladder to take down our last Christmas wreath in complete comfort, and a day that reminds me that Spring will, eventually, come and thaw everything out. I know that today is just a reprieve, and that another cold front is on its way (just in time for the weekend, according to the weather reports), but I’m still deeply grateful.
It doesn’t matter whether we have the relatively mild winter we’ve enjoyed so far this year or the horrible cold, snow and ice we endured last year, winter will always be my least favorite season. So a day such as today is a reminder that, even in the darkest and most difficult times of our lives, there will be welcome reprieves, both small and large, that make it easier for us to believe better times are coming. It’s often the little things that can give the most hope, I think, if we can just allow ourselves to appreciate them when they come into our lives. Spring may not be coming for several weeks, but unexpectedly, a spring day is here, right now. And I intend to enjoy it as much as I can….just as soon as I’m done cleaning the back yard.