My head felt like a black, ink-filled, fuzzy mess this morning as I awoke to the blaring of the alarm clock.
Trying to focus my bleary eyes, I realized that I didn't feel quite like my usual chipper self as I flipped out of bed. My feet were cool on the smooth wood floor of our bedroom.
Maybe it's because the heater is on now, and there's that strange musty, burning dust smell that always wafts out the first few days... I thought to myself.
The temperature has been hovering around freezing lately, and I would go so far as to say that "groggy," has become the word of the day.
Failing to suppress the shiver wriggling lightly over my shoulders and down my spine, I noticed that J had beat me to the bathroom by a few seconds.
Blast. I really had to go. Why is it that bodily functions feel so much more urgent when a body's cold?
As I hopped from toe to toe in an attempt at keeping warm and my mind off my necessaries, I practically burst through the bathroom door when I heard the slow creeeeeak of his exit.
Relieved, I waited for the tap to warm up before plunging my hands beneath it's steamy gushing; hoping to rush some heat back into my fingertips; noticing that my feet were warm in the designated spots where he'd stood moments before on the frigid tiles.
I quickly slipped into jeans and a heavy, oversized sweatshirt; feeling the cool fabric whoosh away my accumulated body heat. Again, a shiver crept over me; up my spine this time, so that I could feel the tickling, tingling hairs on my neck and head rising.
Stepping into the warmth of the kitchen just as J pressed down on the coffee grinder, I waited for its growl to subside before I said, stating the obvious:
"Jeebus it's cold this morning," with my teeth chattering slightly.
He grinned at me from the end of the counter, tapping the fresh coffee grounds into the brown of the recycled paper filter.
With a quick kiss on my forehead and a hasty hug, he started the percolator and zoomed about the house gathering his work things. As soon as the hissing coffee maker announced that it was possible to fill his mug, J was off with another kiss and quick squeeze.
"Have a nice day J," I called after his long-legged form as he stepped off the back porch in one and a half strides.
"You too Darlin," he said beaming up at me, his eyes twinkling beneath his knit cap, all wicked and sparkly in the frost of his warm breath in the cold, cold air.
Closing the door behind him, I felt the rush of warmth return. The kitchen seemed glowing and golden around me even though the sun wasn't bright and fully shining as of yet.
I filled my own mug with hot steaming coffee and donning a down vest and mittens, I pulled on my snow sneakers and went to the front door. Thinking better of it, I attempted to trap my curls under a cotton-fleece hat, but my hair was having none of it, so with a sigh I grabbed a less warm, baseball cap.
I slipped my keys into my pocket and stepped out onto the front porch to begin my walk.
A curtain of icy air enveloped me as I turned to lock the front door.
I was instantly reminded of those aching, chilly and burningly cold mornings I spent as a child, waiting for the school bus.
Briskly walking down the steps and through the front gate, I felt my lungs protesting as the cold flowed in; my eyes pricking with tears as my nose went numb.
This feels just like Vermont, my brain said cheerfully and I began my round of the neighborhood.
There's something about the gray, icy cold that makes me want the smoky comfort of a wood burning fireplace or stove. The way that the warmth sizzles and dances as it rises and rushes to meet the cold air outside the flames.
Fire is magical in that manner. The basic need for our bodies to remain a comfortable temperature is a fundamental need. To be too cold or hot is to be instantly cranky and uncomfortable in one's own skin.
Occasionally I wake up expecting to see the forest out my bedroom window, or the rocky shore of the New England Sea.
I miss the ocean a lot. I also miss the smell of the snow on the maples and pines; the way your boots CRRRRRACK, CRUNCH, SHHHH, as you break through the glazed over blanket of white covering everything; the glinting of iced over budded branches after a sleet storm-- the silver reflecting off their sparkling skeletons of wood.
Winter is a time of mystery, enchantment and simple calculation. I always reach for Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare's Tragedies... those words hit me when it's cold; when the harsh finality of winter creeps in, like a delightful melancholy that I can revel in.
I love the sense of Gothic Romance that I recapture every year, as autumn trips delicately and is caught in winter's icy grasp.
Fall is beautiful; like the last dance of the earth's beauty before she slips into the graceful, darkened, sleeping death that is winter.
The fall and snowy holidays have always been my favorite; perhaps because cheerfulness and fun are made more exciting by the dichotomy of the bleakness in which they reside.
Winter is beautiful and dangerous... some might say, like the wrong kind of partner. ;-)
Oh, how many of us have fallen for that mysterious, moody, sexy and seemingly 'wrong,' person? Love affairs are like the seasons; they change. Hopefully we find another person who has enough range (like the weather) to keep us interested, excited and appreciative.
We move through phases of attraction just as the earth moves through her wardrobe of color and thermostat--- if a person is lucky enough to meet up with someone who loves them back, however brief or lengthy the time; life is worth it.
Hopefully we learn from all our mistakes and follies... enjoy each season as it happens, passes and shifts... knowing that it will come again, whether we desire it or not, and that we must eventually prepare or be overtaken by the transition.
It is this changing of the seasons that acts as the anchor, the constant; the chapter headings in the book of being alive.
I am of the opinion that partners should be able to dance through the seasons; change with the tides and times; grow into and around each other and flex with the wind, rains, suns and snows.
Love should change and develop with the seasons; no autumn, summer, spring or winter is the same as the last--- so should love be different, dynamic and newly familiar each time.