So now it is 2019, at least where I live, and freezing cold outside, with a fresh scour of powdery snow on the ground. Winter is a hard time of year for me, because in the colder months so much of life must be lived interiorly, within doors, instead of outside, where I’m arguably at my happiest. I think I must have been meant for sunnier climes, some region without winter, or at least a country where the coldest season still allows for roaming far and wide and taking long walks with only myself for company.
Winter is a time when unwelcome thoughts creep in and make themselves at home, when the succubus of self-doubt settles itself around my shoulders like a hellish mantle. These are the days when I feel like I’m hovering in the doorway of a house where there’s a party going on. I’m never sure if I’ve been invited – should I just go in? Maybe I don’t belong there. Maybe it’s safer to stay where I am, not risk it, just in case I might get rejected or end up hurt or something. Perhaps I should stick to the sorts of things I’ve written in the past, not try anything new, just in case it doesn’t work out. Just in case I fail. Or make a fool of myself.
We have brought in the new year, Paul and I, with wine and beer and chocolate, which I think is an excellent way to christen any new endeavor, be it chronological or otherwise. An unlimited amount of a nice, crisp Chardonnay goes far to allay the creeping dread and sense of internal dullness one feels in winter. For me, the shortening of the days has always portended dismay, a worsening of my illness, but the lack of light isn’t the worst of it.
That would be the cold. We’re supposed to be a temperate marine climate here, but the word ‘temperate’ allows for a significant amount of stretch: at the moment, the wind chill is -21C and we are laboring under a blizzard warning. Being shut inside makes me feel restless and a bit panicked; to be honest, I feel like I’m imprisoned in a cage – in this case, a cage of ice and snow and frigid temperatures. Luckily, Paul is adept at recognizing when my agitation threatens to burst its banks, and will suggest I exercise, or mop the floors or clean behind the toilet.
Don’t laugh. Housework is wonderfully remedial.
We spent Christmas with my sister, who is a marvelous cook. I’m the oldest; she’s the youngest – and the only member of my family who has read (and praised) everything I’ve ever written. She has been my advocate for as long as I can remember, a wonderfully sensible soul with two beautiful girls and an open heart, and she reads my work, praises my work, praises me for having done the work.
That’s an incredibly rare degree of love and devotion. Moving into a brand new year, I’m enormously grateful to her.
Happy New Year.