I live in southern New England and while our winter this year has been relatively quiet (mild and minimal snow) it has still been marked with the typical cold and dreary weather that defines winter. I am not a fan of winter and as I have gotten older the season has been harder and harder to tolerate. This year I was also burdened with an unexpected surgery. Recovery hasn’t been easy and I’ve been in pretty bad shape both emotionally and physically. The other day someone asked me how I was doing (always a loaded question these days). I was sitting in my most comfortable chair, under a blanket, looking out a window at another grey day. Under the surface I was feeling sore from the surgery, bored because I was missing work, and sad because of various personal issues but on the surface I couldn’t help but think…I was actually feeling pretty content and cozy with a legitimate reason to not go anywhere or do anything on this miserable winter day. I was drinking my warm coffee, had a great book in my lap, and I had no plans to do much of anything. And the best part? I didn’t feel one bit guilty about spending a day inside under a blanket.
Because winter expects nothing of me.
Winter expects nothing of us. Isn’t that great? Every other season expects so much. In the spring we need to get out of the house, enjoy the warming air, “get some sun!”. We are have to open the windows, air out the house, clean, clean clean. Our yards need work, flowers need to be planted, patio furniture needs to be set up. The spring brings with it so many events. Recitals, awards ceremonies, proms, graduations, weddings, showers, picnics, parades, the list is endless.
But winter? Nothing.
In the summer we can’t waste any days. If the sun is out we’d better be out. Get to the beach, go to the pool, GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY. We have vacations to take and so many picnics to attend. Memorial Day picnics, graduation parties, Fourth of July picnics, and summer birthdays always mean “let’s have a BBQ!”. I am a summer girl through and through and I feel guilty if I spend any of my summer days sitting inside doing nothing.
But in the winter? Nothing it is.
In the fall it’s all about getting outside to enjoy the weather before it turns. Apple picking, pumpkin picking, leaf “peeping”–get the photos and get outside. Fall is carnival season, soccer season, and football season. There is always something to do and some game to watch. There’s always a feeling of urgency in the fall. September hits with the busy transition into a new school year and you blink and it’s almost Christmas. We hurtle through the fall months to Christmas Day doing all of the things, buying all of the things, and attending all of the events and holiday obligations.
Then we hit January 2nd and…nothing.
Winter expects nothing of us. Stay in. Stay warm. Stay cozy. Eat the soup. Drink the hot chocolate. Read ALL the books. Watch every episode of that show you’ve been meaning to see. Why not? There’s nothing else to do. There’s no where to go. Want to spend an entire Sunday doing nothing but laundry and Netflix? No worries. Nothing scheduled anyway.
It is almost the first day of spring and I’m absolutely ready for winter to pack up and head on out. But I think when next winter rolls around I may approach it with a different attitude. Everyone expects something from me but winter? Winter says sit, rest, recharge. I definitely used this winter to do all of those things. I’m feeling stronger by the day and ready to face the expectations of the spring. So thank you, winter, for giving me the time I so desperately needed.
Maybe winter is the friend I never knew I needed in this busy life I lead. Maybe winter is actually the kindest of the seasons. My summer heart is laughing at the mere suggestion that any season could top the blissful, warm, brightness of summer but I can’t help but give winter a grateful smile as it waves it’s goodbye.
I’ll see you again, friend, after another trip around the sun.