by Bill Holm
After midnight the blizzard howls itself out,
the wind sleeps, a tired lover.
Before bed, I think of you
and play the Meistersinger quintet
over and over, singing
along on all the parts,
dancing through the house
like a polar bear who thinks
it has joined the ballet.
You are in my arms, dancing too;
whirling from room to room;
frost crusted on the window
begins to glow like lit up faces.
My five fingers, now on fire
like these five voices singing,
imagine touching the skin
over your shoulder.
It took some effort, but I was able to embrace winter today. I needed to remind myself that my word for the year is embrace. It's been a little rough up here in the North Country. We've had freezing rain (the worst!), blowing and drifting snow, ice-packed roads, hazardous road conditions, and sub-zero temps. Oh, and I hear there's a "Siberian blast" or something like that coming our way. Anyone up for a visit?
Despite all that, you can't help but look outside and marvel at God's creation. The trees are heavy with snow, icicles drip from frozen oak leaves. We have fresh snow for winter sports. My friend Denise was raving about the trails and beauty of the Arboretum here in the Brainerd lakes area. I said, before I could stop to think, that if she was going out cross-country skiing this weekend that I'd like to join her.
I played piano for church today. It was a good service, Baptism and water theme, played a few of my favorites. After the service, Denise said, "We'll be going skiing this afternoon." I had thoughts of a long winter's nap, but at 2:00, I got up and met her and her husband. They were patient instructors. I'd been on skis before, but didn't really know what I was doing. I was a bit tense. I was out for less than an hour, but my calves were burning and I worked up a sweat. Part of it was from not knowing what I was doing, feeling tense, not wanting to slow them down, afraid of falling and busting up a knee or something. Our first hill had a curve. "Um, I don't think I can do it." But, they didn't let me quit, or crawl down. I made it. I'd go again, after I rub out the muscle tension.
This is kind of a dumb, staged picture. It looks like I'm heading for a tree. In fact, I stayed on the path and took this photo of my skis and backyard when I got home. I didn't want to worry about my camera besides trying to ski and not fall or embarrass myself.
It's hard to get enough fresh air and sunshine in the winter here. You have to make an effort to embrace winter, enjoy the kinds of outdoor sports that only happen in cold climates, and tag along with friends who know what they're doing.
Before you go praising me for getting out there and exercising in the cold, I'm going to admit that yesterday I did my preferred winter activity which is staying inside and sitting in my reading chair all day. I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and oh, my it's good. And, now, I'm drinking tea, listening to jazz music and writing up this blog post.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: How do you cope with winter, if you live in a wintery climate, or cope with your environment when it's not your favorite, or difficult?