When It’s Cold Out

It’s been the snowiest December since 1970.  During the first storm, I wrote this post and forgot to publish.  I’ve adjusted a little better now, but it’s still applicable.

When it’s cold out, I get acrimonious.   MrH will try everything he knows how, but it’s never quite right or quite enough.  There is a tricky balance between expressing how you feel (need, cranky…) and loving the other by realizing that he is cold, too.  We both have the same goal: to get home quickly without falling on the slippery ice.

In those moments I want him to take charge, but don’t agree with his decisions when he does.  Recently, we’ve been seeing a portrayal of this in all its awfulness: know Nate and Jen on the Amazing Race?   If you don’t,you should watch it because they are like a caricature of how I get when it’s cold out.  Not pretty, not teamwork.  Working on it.

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Rhythms of the Year

Winter is drawing me into its blanket. My favorite spot now is nearest the radiator, cup of steaming cocoa in hand. In summer, I sit in front of my open window, peeking through the leafy green foliage as it becomes thicker and greener. But in winter, the shades might as well stay drawn since the harsh, gray light just makes it feel colder. I dress in layers now not because it’s cute, but because it’s warm. And I limit my trips outdoors, blasting the heat in the car until my face feels dry. Soap gets replaced with body wash, and extra bottles of body lotion get stashed around the house.

New England. The seasons change here, our habits change, our rhythms are cyclical. I don’t know how I’d live in a place where this doesn’t happen. These subtle, grounding changes remind me of priorities; remind me of today’s preciousness; keep me attuned to the divine. Age-old traditions point to these same rhythms, imposing structure on an otherwise meaningless passing of time. This year, I feel drawn to the idea of advent, the idea that there is a season for expectant waiting and yearning. The idea that as a church body, we delve into these experiences together, and that over the course of the year, we “are presented in an organized way with the opportunity to talk about, reflect upon, and respond to the entire range of faith confessions that lie at the heart of the Christian Faith” (see here).

And so, as I do every year, I stock up on wool socks, dust off my sweaters, re-learn how the 4-wheel drive works, and plan warm evenings at home. I replace the bonfire with a crackling one in the fireplace (or a WoodWick candle for those of us who don’t have a fireplace!); the bike with the car; the baseball cap with a wool hat; and my iced coffee with a hot one. I all but hibernate, loving every second of it, knowing that soon my snowdrops will peek up through the snow and I’ll be readying my garden, still attuned to the presence of the divine.

The Warm Fuzzies

It’s officially December and we bought ourselves a Christmas tree! It’s taller than either of us, beautifully straight, and a little skinny so it actually fits into the spot we have for it. It’s symmetrical, full of fresh needles, and when I came downstairs this morning, the scent of fresh pine was unmistakable. It’s not yet decorated, just sitting in our living room – the first of (hopefully) many trees over many years. A center for cozy memories yet to be created, and warm memories to be re-lived.

Usually I wouldn’t dream of getting it yet, buying into the idea that it’s “too early.” But hey, we’re leaving for warmer weather for the week of Christmas, so might as well get some good-old Christmas tree-in-a-drafty-house feelings in first, right? Today is the coldest day of the year, so we got it just in time to hole up inside with mugs of hot chocolate, strands of lights to untangle, and our favorite ornaments to unwrap. And if that weren’t enough, I’m teaching two friends how to make Christmas stockings today! Pictures to follow! (with no promise of “tomorrow,” since last week’s purse still hasn’t made it on here). Keep warm!