Is it a Winter Wonderland or has Hell Frozen Over?

Snow came in sticky, wet abundance, frosting the trees and shrouding the world in silent white. It was magical, like sitting in a snow globe as the inches piled up. First three…

Then seven more…

then another eight…

It happened fast and I found myself caught between awe and overwhelm. It was intimidating, an all-encompassing blanket that changed the colorful landscape into a monochromatic composition overnight. On cloudy days it was cozy. On sunny days, every crystalline flake reflected dazzling bursts of light.

Holidays approached. Nostalgic aromas of gingerbread cookies and lefse filled the air. My sister sends dozens of home-baked gifts to relatives every year. When it was time to frost and decorate her creations, W and I pitched in.

Mind you, these are only the gingerbread cookies. She made thumbprints, several varieties of spritz, date pinwheels, bourbon balls, pineapple tartlets, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, turtles, three kinds of biscotti, and I know I’m forgetting some. Years of collected decorations appeared throughout the house. Their giant philodendron, aptly named Phil, sported a string of twinkle lights and transformed into a Christmas tree.

All that happened while I hung insulation, sheetrocked around all those beautiful windows, and mudded, taped, and sanded as though my life depended upon it…because it kind of does.

And then…

This:

Temperatures plunged to minus twenty degrees Fahrenheit. I went out to shovel and start my car. When I finally chipped away enough ice to open the door and get inside, the battery was dead. But it didn’t really matter because the fuel line on W’s snowplow tractor was also frozen. Without plowing the road, none of us was going anywhere.

Suddenly, the reality of WINTER in Minnesota hit me. Sherry, this is your life for at least four more months. Can you do this? Of course, I can do it. I gutted out two years of Covid lockdown in Bali, besieged daily by foraging monkeys. I CAN DO ANYTHING. But can I do it happily?

Every winter?

For the rest of my life?

Whoa! Back up! Let’s stay in the moment!

Last night we, my sister, brother-in-law, and I celebrated winter solstice. I found a guided meditation by Julian Jenkens. We sat in candlelight, listening, musing, contemplating, and, nudged by his wise words, probing our souls. We spent the following two or three hours in deep philosophical conversations, dining on Gwen’s heavenly lasagne, W’s garden salad, and garlic toast, accompanied by a bottle of Josh Cabernet. It was a feast befitting such a night.

Today, blustery winds are blowing the newest, fluffiest snow into drifts. Forty-five-mile-per-hour gusts are predicted to last through tomorrow. My best-laid-plans to visit Jenny’s family in Minneapolis for Christmas may be postponed. But the gifts are wrapped and ready.

Meanwhile, invitations are pouring in. If we can get out of the driveway, there are Christmas Eve festivities at Uncle John’s two miles away. Dinner is on the agenda for Christmas day with old neighbors who became dear friends.

This is how I grew up. This is what I left behind and have now returned to. It hasn’t changed.

But I have. One of the questions posed last night was, What beliefs can you let go that no longer serve you? As the candles burned down, I let go of the, I hate winter story. It’s time to embrace and embody the fullness of who I am, a child of the snow, born in January, a Capricorn.

According to Molly Hall, on Liveabout dot com, I’m the crone, the elder who lives with the specter of death and knows that winter is coming and prepares for it. How perfect is that?!

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