My ancient radiator, that’s who. We’re transitioning out of transitional weather — trading jackets for coats and PSLs for comforts brewed on the stove. Polar vortex is descending, and with it a choice: snuggle up to a sweet new normal or let bitterness eat us alive.
Should probably find a new home for this guy.
I am a winter girl. (I also do not wear Abercrombie and Fitch, so Rich and I were doomed from the start.) Layering up and hunkering down is in my hard wiring, and each year I enjoy a surge of reverse SAD. I could point to my indoorsy interests or Buddy the Elf-like holiday spirit, but more than anything, it’s that I thrive in a season ruled by intention.
Intention is, to me, the source of all forward motion. It’s a close relative of mindfulness, but less about the moment itself than the act of constructing it: I will go here. I will do this. I will make my fate my own. It’s accountability, but only to myself — to things I think I want and know I need.
Summer, for all its loveliness, is at odds with intention. In bloom, I am bright and breezy and pliable. I want to say yes, and I want things to say yes to. I make myself available to whim and, in doing so, pluck myself from roots I planted when no other grass was greener, because there was no other grass.
For a few weeks, it’s bliss. By August, I’m stuck in a strange holding pattern — like I’m waiting for something to change me, and when or how is beyond my control. Like I’m failing every moment I’m not Living In The Moment. Plans waft my way; I say no and feel guilty, or I go and feel drained. It’s too much. I love unplanned adventures and aimless walks through the park. Just, you know, when I want to. Not because summer said I should.
There’s no dragging our heels in the winter. We’ll wind up knee-deep and turn back before we begin. Oppressed by the elements, we’re reduced to bare totems of priority, our will to fight for our good times revealing how much we want what we want. The lack of foliage exposes deep-sown yearnings that hide in the loveliness of an unexamined life. All that rawness leads to discomfort sometimes. I get it. I also know it comes back around to growth.
In winter, I do what I want when I want it. I write. I cook. I exercise. I clean my apartment and spend whole days perfecting my eyeliner technique. Paradoxically — or obviously — that bare, predictable landscape sends me grasping at tendrils that poke through the snow. Those are the powerful moments. I gather them fiercely and savor them without trying — because they’re exceptions, and because I know my fellow scavengers have fought for them too.
And so I intend to winter: in pursuit of things I think I want and know I need. To winter: an active verb, because I’m the one making changes around here. To winter: in a way that makes the spring irrelevant, and therefore that much sweeter when it comes.
It’s gonna be a damn good time.