by Lisa Cadigan
It’s been a long, snowy winter here. Long, snowy winters tend to not be the greatest for my mental state, but since I am aware of this fact, I think the toll has been less so than in the past. That said, it has been a long, snowy winter, and my moods have mirrored the sky: gray, empty, cold. During the winter, it takes a conscious effort to find the little miracles in my day that seem to sparkle much more readily when the sun is shining. When it’s warm outside, and I walk my dog, I stride thoughtfully with my head held high, watching the birds and the clouds, drinking in the sun or gazing at the stars. In the winter, I walk quickly and hunched over, staring at the ground, breathing inside my coat in an attempt to stay warm. I want to look at the stars, but it is just too damned cold to allow the heat to escape when I lift my head. Shoot. I’ll just put the dog in the yard and skip the walk. Like water as it turns to ice, the molecules that make up my body seem to slow down to near stillness. I try to run on the treadmill, but I find that reaching my “happy place” is frustratingly beyond my grasp…so I’ll just walk for a while. If I could authentically listen to what my body seems to be telling me, I might hibernate until April. I just want to sleep, or at least sit still, maybe in front of a fire with a good book, and I am cranky because all of these other THINGS keep getting in the way of that – like work and snow days and dinner-making and laundry and life.
But today, the sun is peeking out ever so slightly from behind the clouds. Not too brightly – I can still look directly at it without squinting – but enough to notice. I find myself staring at the sun, trying to drink its warmth. It feels like I am desperately sucking the last drips of water from a glass with a straw; an attempt to recharge during this long, snowy winter. And then, good news arrives. It appears that I have been selected to read one of my essays in the 2014 Listen To Your Mother Show in Washington, D.C. Suddenly my Facebook page is abuzz with congratulatory messages. I went to the gym and ran a few miles on the treadmill (slowly). I still didn’t reach my epiphany-inducing running state, but I did find myself remembering that everything is temporary, including the gray winter, and if the news of an opportunity to share my writing can offer a glimpse of warmth to my heart, then spring will indeed come. Maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but it’s coming.
As the snow slowly melts on my driveway, the molecules of my being are beginning to stir. I am writing this blog entry, for example. I am breathing in and out. And the good Lord willing, we will not have another snow day tomorrow, and I will get to go to my favorite yoga class for the first time in over a month. It’s been a long, snowy winter, and I am ready for the renewal that comes with the thaw. I am also really looking forward to meeting all of the amazing women who will come together for what appears to be a fabulous event.
My sister shared this lovely poem by Joyce Rupp with me a few days ago. Here’s to winter’s (eventual) graceful step aside so that the newest adventures of spring can begin.
Blessed are you, winter, dark season of waiting,
you affirm the dark seasons of our lives,
forecasting the weather of waiting in hope.
Blessed are you, winter, you faithfully guard a life unseen,
calling those who listen deeply
to discover winter rest.
Blessed are you, winter, frozen and cold on the outside,
within your silent, nurturing womb
you warmly welcome all that longs for renewal.
Blessed are you, winter, your bleak, barren trees
preach wordless sermons about emptiness and solitude.
Blessed are you, winter, you teach us valuable lessons
about waiting in darkness with hope and trust.
Blessed are you, winter, season of blood red sunsets,
and star-filled, long, dark nights,
faithfully you pour out your beauty.
Blessed are you, winter, when your tiny snowflakes
flurry through the air, you awaken our sleeping souls.
Blessed are you, winter, with your wild and varied moods,
so intent on being yourself,
you refuse to be a people-pleaser.
Blessed are you, winter, when ice storms crush our hearts and homes,
you call forth the good in us as we rush to help one another.
Blessed are you winter, your inconsistent moods
often challenge spring’s arrival,
yet how gracefully you step aside
when her time has come.”
– Joyce Rupp