Back in late November, when the autumn leaves here in New England had all turned brown and fallen from the trees, but the clean white snow had not yet arrived and it was just Plain Old Cold outside, I made a decision: I decided, on one not particularly beautiful day, to love seasons. Or, rather, I realized that I do love seasons about 60 percent of the time and it was time — it was necessary, in fact — for me to embrace the other 40 percent. Or, at least, to try.
For many years I complained so consistently from January to May (and found myself in good company!) that it became second nature. My husband would have moved us to California years ago if not for my misgivings about leaving family behind; I think that’s when the seed was planted, that I needed to change something. If it wasn’t going to be my location, it would have to be my attitude. Yep, there was no getting around it: I was in love with late spring, summer, and fall, but if I was going to live in New England, it was time for me to stop being such a dink all winter.
I believe you can learn to love things (notice I said things and not people — jury’s out on that one) and I have tested this theory by deciding to love, for example, beets. I thought beets tasted like a frozen clump of dirt from my driveway, but I so wanted to like them! So I keep at it, roasting those little mofos and making yummy little marinades and eating them over and over until — guess what? I loved them. It’s a true story: I love beets. I had the same success with tomatoes. I am now trying it with skiing. I’ll get back to you.
Now, there are some things that are so hideous that obviously my immersion technique would never work; I will never be able to teach myself to love, say, vomiting, or Ke$ha. And some people would put winter in that category. I totally get it, I do! I’m not going all Pollyanna on you — I mean, I am a little bit. But of course I understand that I will hate the dirty snow in March, and I will be grouchy for much of April, when I think it should be mild but is in fact still freezing outside, and I will curse winter up and down when the inevitable stomach bug arrives. And the irony of writing this today — on a bitter cold, polar vortex, beast of a day — does not escape me. Today sucks. But, I’ve realized, really no more than a 95 degree summer day sucks.
That photo up top there? I snapped it at Woodsom Farm in Amesbury, MA, where I often walk my dog. I was dreading going out on that particular cold day and grumbled about it while my dog stared at me all morning. When we finally arrived, me all bundled up and Izzy all invigorated and running like she was shot out of a cannon, I had a total a-HA moment where I went from thinking, “Why the ^%$! do I even have a dog?!” to “I’m so glad I have a dog or I’d never be out here!”
I’m not saying I’ll think that every day, but I have to say (and I hope I don’t sound too horribly righteous) it feels good to at least be trying. I’m not saying you should try, though! You can complain all you want and I will not think you’re a dink. Not even a little bit.
For today, then, I will mostly stay inside and try to just ignore this steaming turd of a day. But when more reasonable winter temperatures return, I pledge to: a) accept the beauty of winter when I see it; and b) attempt to have fun while being colder than I like.
I am trying.