17 November 2011

i will never be warm again: lessons from the cold

When the weather turns cold again, there is a moment every year when you think, 'I will never be warm again. The earth will never come out of the winter it's heading into.'

Then you realize that it's actually 37 degrees and that it will, unfortunately but inevitably in the Midwest, get much colder.

Please tell me that you have this moment, too, so that I don't feel like such a wuss, someone so unworthy to be a descendent of my farming ancestors {and in one case, a peddling ancestor—no, for real, one of my ancestors, someone not that far back in the family tree, was a peddler}.

My moment came last night. I was walking Miss Daisy, and I had on a hat, my mittens from Norway, and a wool scarf wrapped tightly and tucked into my coat. I was shivering from the cold and yet I couldn't even really see my breath in the still night air.

It will get so much colder, and my body will acclimate.

This is the great wonder and lesson of living somewhere with four season.

The Wonder

Every few months, the scenery drastically changes, and we get to take in spring buds, humidity, falling leaves, and snow. This keeps us from much monotony because even a drive to the grocery store will eventually look different—colors, lack of colors, leaves, lack of leaves, everything in white because it's an icy-snow mess and you better hope you don't slide and you really should've put together that winter preparedness kit, etc.

Speaking of the grocery store and food, we have come so far from when food selection was limited by the seasons or canning. I feel qualified to say something like this because of the aforementioned farming ancestors.

Now, as we're all aware, you can pretty much get anything at any time of the year. Yes, there are times when certain produce is better—when it's at its peak, I do believe it's called, when what is really meant it: it's the traditional harvest time.

If you get apples in February, they won't be as peak-full as in the fall when you're supposed to be making apple pies and applesauce and whatever else you can think of to make with the five bushels of apples you somehow ended up with after apple picking.

But you can still get apples in February.

You can get strawberries in November, if you have a whim to make strawberry shortcake for Thanksgiving.

We no longer have to wait for the harvest; we no longer get the anticipation of waiting for the season's first plum and then biting into it—delicious, so sweet, and so cold. This is just to say: we have lost something when we got pulled so far off the land, and I'm glad we have the wonder of seasons to remind us that we used to be more tied to the land.

The Lesson

The seasons teach that it is possible to adapt to change. You may forget every year how cold it gets, but it won't take long for you to pull out the long underwear, find the warm gloves, and remember how cozy your home feels when you first step inside from a -20 degree day.

We're all much more adaptable than we think. We do get used to change, and the seasons remind us of our great adaptability.

This is important to remember when something so large and shifting happens in your life—that you're sure you'll never be able to adjust.

Think of things like your best friend getting married or people having babies or even you yourself getting into a relationship. I should stress that these are all good things {babies mean, for example, that you get to buy adorable clothes—little sweater vests! tiny dresses with ruffles!—and look forward to videos of the baby giggling}.

But just as we're an adaptable people, we're also a freak-out-about-change people. It's natural to see how everything will be different, and it's also natural to skip over the fact that different isn't actually synonymous with bad.

Different can be nice, once you get used to it.

Just like the humidity in the summer and the snow in the winter.

1 comment:

  1. If you will indulge me:

    Just a moment,one peculiar passing moment... must it all be either less or more,
    Either plain or grand?
    Is it always or?
    Is it never and?
    That's what woods are for:

    For those moments in the woods...

    Oh, if life were made of moments,
    even now and then a bad one-!
    But if life were only moments,
    then you'd never know you had one.



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