Sleet falls from a quiet silver sky, frosting the edges of bare branches with a sifting of tiny crystalline stars.
Now the air numbs the skin like the slash of an ice knife, in that frozen moment between the slicing and the bleeding.
Later I will go outside for a quick chilling of the bones. I have spent many days inside and cabin fever is setting in, which is what I like least about winter.
I wish I could say I was spending this inside time journaling, dreaming and creating; but it's useless as I am distracted by all the ways my house needs to be set in order. Plus, it's not really mine until I clean it. There is a lot to clean, and I'm not a fast cleaner, I'm the inefficient, meticulous sort. It takes a long time.
I'm slow at almost everything...cleaning, cooking, baking, grocery shopping, writing, processing things, getting ready for work in the morning, making decisions...I could go on. Hurrying goes against my nature, my preference for order and exactness.
I'm particularly slow at doing things involving lots of details, which trigger my compulsive tendencies.
Like cleaning a house full of paint-spattered woodwork and radiators with frustratingly unreachable dust crevices.
Sometimes I ask myself, does this behavior serve me...or do I instead serve it? Am I actually being unkind to myself? It's a fine line, and sometimes I observe myself crossing into warning territory.
That's when I need to make myself stop. Go outside. Break the pattern of whatever spell I'm binding about myself, which somehow transforms in the midst of its working from a beneficial magic to a malignant one. This much is good...that much is not.
On winter's bare white stage, one's dramas and dysfunctions play out starkly, in high relief. Maybe that's why we need good stories to escape into more than ever in wintertime. We can't always be brave, strong, and stoic—humans seek comfort in strugglesome times. Stories help get us through.
Do you have particular stories you read during difficult times? We have been rewatching the Harry Potter movies—but I suspect rereading the books would be more magical and more powerful. It's not as if they tell particularly comforting stories (in fact they're rather discomforting and discomfitting), it's more that they encourage us to believe that each of us is stronger than we realize, and that we can make a difference in the lives of others, and that we have a choice as to how to live so let's choose to be courageous and loyal and adventurous. Those ideas comfort and encourage me.