In looking through some of my old unpublished blogs over at Blogger, I stumbled upon this–written about a year ago, and with the working title, “The Suckiest Winter Ever.”
In my idea of an aim for “less” in 2012, less blogging was not on my list. In fact, I was hoping that less of everything else would grant me the time and space to do the things I really enjoy—be with my family, work on projects that interest me, enjoy nature and the outside world, write…
The year started out okay…it’s easy when everyone is on vacation and there is plenty of time for exploring. My first conscious “less” choice this year was to quit my YMCA membership in order to spend more time outdoors. Although I would dearly miss swimming, I wouldn’t miss having to schedule a visit to the gym around school and pool schedules, nor would I miss leaving Ophelia at the YMCA “childwatch”, which she feels tepid about, at best. No…I would wait to enjoy swimming in the summer months, and spend my winter in the elements: skiing, sledding, shovelling, snowshoeing, building snowmen–all great fun and much better quality exercise than I could ever get in an artificial environment.
Before school vacation ended (and maybe after it started) I was granted some of these winter days. I was able to reacquaint myself with the contours of our very long driveway during a few meditative shovel sessions, we took some good runs on the sled hill, the girls and I took to the great outdoors (the backyard really) on our snowshoes, looking for animal tracks in the snow…
It was a pittance of snow, barely enough to get a taste of, but I’m glad we did, because a week later it was gone…forever.
I’ve never been one to complain about the weather, but this season has been really difficult for me. After all the bikes were put away and the sleds, skis, snowshoes and skates taken out all we did was…
What did we do? None of those winter sports, I can assure you that. In a New England winter, we need snow–that nice coat of white primer painted over everything making it fresh and new. Otherwise, our rotten, decaying past lies on display for us all winter long, sealed under a glass window of ice. It’s depressing; it really is.
With January more than half over, this winter has not been the best for us either. A new busy schedule and the flu have knocked us down repeatedly, no matter how many times we have tried to stand up again…but at least we’ve had snow. Glorious snow has come and melted, but somehow managed to leave a covering for most of the month, so that we can explore when we are feeling well and look out at the reflection of the low winter sun off the ice when we are needing rest. The first-graders in my new class at school (twenty-three strong!) come in with renewed focus when they are able to sled during recess, and I am able to maintain a center and patience–despite said twenty-three children, and my own two–when I am allowed the meditative act of shovelling our long driveway.
This weekend, the rest of my family is up at Camp Glen Brook on a second-grade class trip, while I sit at home nursing my near epic head and body aches (of course, mama was the last one to fall…), and each time I look out the window at the snow-piles–melting, but still present–lining our driveway, I hope that Matty and the girls are filling themselves with outdoor air, pond-skating, sledding, star-gazing in the cold night air, and winter bonfires.
As for me, I will don sunglasses (the glare off the snow is a bit much for a flu headache), look out the window and bask in this beautiful white, this new beginning, this stillness that is offered us. I will be thankful, but I will also be a little greedy as I pray for more.