Let me be more specific: a warm sun.
Oh because there has been sun. The bright beautiful sun accompanied by -30 degree wind chill.
In like a lion…Another snowfall last night. -19 degrees Celsius right now.
Can we really make the best of it? I’m not going to become as broody as I was in February but it is definitely a challenge to keep a positive rhythm when winter is relentless – the cold, the snow, the frost.
Today I pulled out last year’s spring rings and dumped them on the table. We group painted a large piece of watercolour paper in many bright and vibrant colours. Then I sliced the paper up into strips. Each of us made a ring every day starting on March 1st. We wrote one thing that we looked forward to in the coming spring season.
Then we strung the chain of rings across the windows on the first day of spring to celebrate its arrival. I love reading the things that the kids were really excited to do in spring like #5’s “NO MORE SOCKS” and this ring of #2, “See the morning dew”:
It was a fun way to anticipate the change of seasons especially when the mood dipped a little as winter dragged on.
I contemplated doing this again. This could be a kind of sojourn into warmth. A temporary visit to what is just around the corner. But my perspective has changed. I don’t want them focused on something that is going to happen. I don’t want them in the habit of always looking ahead and dismissing the here and now because it is lacking what they want.
It’s ok to express frustration at having to layer and layer and layer. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I hear you kiddos when you just want to ride your bike again. I get it. As much as we try to enjoy the snow with hikes, tobogganing, skating, snowman-building, and general snow play, I know that it would be really nice to just feel the warmth of the sun again, to shed the layers and sit outside with our bare arms and legs. We don’t have to appreciate every moment of winter but we don’t have to feel stuck in it either. I can do without the wet sock meltdowns but I can’t spend the next month waiting to be sockless again.
This is my new idea this year. We will make a chain again. But the theme will be “what I will miss about winter when it’s gone.” What is it that winter brings that we can celebrate in between the times we are feeling low and depleted? Can we name specific moments from the past few months that have made winter a blessing?
After thinking about this question for awhile, I noticed that I was actually taking time to sojourn in warmth by doing certain things.
Here’s a few ways I have found warmth this winter which make me spend less time wishing for warmth from the sun:
– Cuddling under a big blanket with my crew, listening to the squeals when cold feet touch skin
– Huddling together on the couch reading books with pauses taken to sip a hot tea or coffee
– Talking with other mamas sometimes around campfires or in homes making/strengthening connection
– Attending family gatherings where laughing and storytelling happen naturally
– Embracing each other even when I really wanted to curl up in a ball and not emerge until there were undeniable signs of spring
– Acknowledging my limitations, my challenges, and my own obstacles to this time of year and letting go of the idea that I should be outside every day to get over this aversion to the cold which includes stopping thoughts that compare myself to others and being kinder to myself recognizing that I am trying to do my best and this is who I am at this moment
– Asking myself the question: “What if you knew that you’d never see the spring again?” (A tough one but flips the way one sees the here and now.)
– Remembering that it’s all a lesson in impermanence: each breath I take moves me to another right-now moment.
– Playing reggae music in the car
– Warming up our wool socks in the dryer right before we are going to spend time outside. Toasty feet = happy people.
– Writing here and at Sense of Story has allowed me to sort things out that have been percolating inside my head and reading all of your kind comments infects me with crazy warm and fuzzies (Thank you!)
– Letting in my children’s love of “King Winter” (#3: King Winter is really having fun this year!)
I’m pretty sure winter and I aren’t going to become BFF’s anytime soon but maybe I can keep up these warm sojourns so that we can at least be civil with one another.
I’d love to hear how your winter is coming along and how you feel if your March is a lot like my March – more winter.
Writing when I can with writealm…