Monday, March 12, 2012

Winter blues

In the best tradition of early to mid - 1800s writing, I will talk about the weather (that is, when I am not describing the change of clothes for every separate meal, each of which will be served to me by others). And, since I live in New England, the subject is always very timely and highly interesting. The topic is this – I will miss winter when it goes.

This flies in the face of every weather-related cultural imperative, I know. We are taught to groan our way from New Year’s Day through Easter, as the dreary and damp days crawl forward to the renewal of the growing season. But it is true – I will miss winter.

I will miss coming in wet and frozen from banging the ice out of water buckets, to the comfort of the wood stove. I will miss drying my mittens and stewing my dinner on the wood stove, which always makes me feel like I am getting something for free since the drying and cooking activities cost nothing more than the heating ones.

I will miss dragging in wood, even though it is messy and heavy and not always convenient. There is something compelling in the idea of effort rewarded in such a direct, immediate, and satisfying way. I carry in wood, and then I am warmed. What a perfect relationship between impetus and outcome. And after this exercise, my additional reward is sinking onto the couch with a book and feeling as if I absolutely deserve to read in peace and warmth.

I will miss the homey feeling of all the animals flopped in a circle around the wood stove and my person, after evening chores are done for the day. I love to watch their abandoned postures of comfort and relaxation…..cats snuggled up to each other and the dogs and vice versa, sleeping peacefully and quietly except for little kitty snores from the grey tabby.

I suppose this encomium has its roots in cell memory. The atavistic feeling of safety when there is enough wood piled by the cave mouth to keep the fire going until morning, or spring, or until the predators migrate elsewhere. There is nothing like it, and I really will miss winter – until next year when it will certainly come back.