I complain a lot this time of year, maybe you do too. The sun goes down early, the days turn short and cold, there’s the familiar pang that life will be harder the next few months.
How silly of us!
At least that’s what my friend Elayne says when I bemoan the change of the clocks and the end of the glory days. “Why don’t you bring Maine home,” she quips, when I recall my last summer days up north.
“What’s that Pollyanna response?” I ask. “Down feathers make me look fat, icicles stab me, I need a heat lamp to take out the trash, and what do you know about winter you have kids in California and I’ve noticed each time you stay longer.”
“I’m not moving there,” she reminds me for the tenth time. “I’d be exchanging snow for fires and blackouts.” Good point.
“So think,” she says. “What do you love about summer? “There’s got to be some cross-over.”
And because we’ve known each other since we were kids, and because she’s my “happy” friend, and because she will continue to annoy me, I eventually sit down and I write.
And I realize I could bring the relaxing spirit of summer home right then and there by using a throwback pen and paper, instead of gluing my eyes to the computer.
So, in answer to my optimistic friend -- before I locate my furry hats and boots -- I offer this:
In “Go Crazy,” Prince said, “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life,” which I see every morning when I have tea in my new Prince mug. I found it in Maine; now I know why. If we’re all in this together, I’ll feel less guilty when I skid into your car leaving a snowball dent. Sorry!
We’ve heard the way to deal with winter is to play in it, revel in it, go crazy in it. Or at least stand in it. Recent summer trips to cold climes like Iceland have taught me, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes,” is true, even if I’m searching for a hot tub. If foreigners could tolerate me with nine mismatch layers, I guess I can roll myself out to the neighbors.
Puff up with pancakes
If you eat pancakes to boost your spirits, isn’t that a version of the enlightened mind/body connection? Fun and pancakes go together like ice and broken ankles, I mean snow and snowmen. So I vow to extend my crazy summer splurges and get out the fixings for flapjacks with my Maine maple syrup. If I puff up, I’ll double as a down coat.
Cygnus the Swan is a favorite constellation in the Northern sky. Crazy, but I suddenly see it’s right above my house, the only star group I can find with my non-swan neck. Since my old friend gave me the challenge, I’m heading outside reliving my Maine sky adventures. Cygnus is there; I realize it’s me who went away.
Shun the news
We all know we’re addicted right now. It’s all we talk about, or at least the addicted talk about. Caught! In summer, I take news breaks. Now, I’m going crazy and taking them into winter, moving from watching TV news to reading news in print to just catching the headlines to asking someone else what’s going on. Please -- tell me when it’s time to vote.
Yes, we may have a hard, cruel winter. But at least we’ll be gathered here together -- individual snowflakes down on this earth for who knows how long.
Winter’s a-coming beloveds. Let’s be crazy, let’s try to enjoy it.