It is cold here. No, I am mean REALLY cold! We have had many days lately when the high temperature did not eclipse zero degrees. Bone-chilling cold.
As I write this morning, there is a part of me that feels warm and safe inside my little home. It is beautiful outside in a frozen sort of way. The sun has risen and glares off the snow and ice and gazing at it from the warmth of my “nest,” it is not threatening in the least. It occurred to me that I am “quiet” right now. There is nothing really big happening. I have resumed my routine at university. I know my job…my comings and goings are familiar territory. I like that. The weekends are uneventful too. And not a lot to do outdoors for me. No baseball, no bike riding, no long walks or tranquil pipe smokes. Far too harsh for any of that. So I wonder to myself if this is not what winter is supposed to be for us higher level mammals as well? Should we not also slow ourselves and take account and appreciate the shelter we have and the chance for a lazy stride? Hibernation.
I also feel a faint restlessness. As if there is something coming right around the bend but rather than an active awareness of it that would necessitate caution or action, it feels more like the slightest memory of a dream that has been mostly forgotten. More an impression really. I feel as if I should be staging for something. Ramping up. Prepping. There is a part of me that wants to thaw and run. Warm up and get going! Attack the day. Move back into the outdoors of late spring and summer that I love here in the upper Midwest. Movement.
I suspect this is a larger tension of life.
The little boy in me wants to lock himself inside, surrounded with his familiar possessions and smells and sensations…a little fortress where the harshness of life cannot intrude. I can dance, or sing embarrassingly loud or nap unprotected or walk around partially clothed. Anything I want to do because I can. Yet the man in me sees opportunity all the time. Fascinating professional challenges just waiting for my unique talents, lived experiences and skill set.
Perhaps what I am really feeling is not as simple as a cute, dichotomous metaphor of the changing seasons in the Northland.
Maybe what I am really trying to ask is whether I have entered a time in life where it is acceptable to slow my pace (as with winter) and enjoy the journey I have traveled. To slow down a bit and relax. To REALLY be okay with just having a familiar routine. Have I not earned it after 45 years of striving and schooling and “earning my stripes?” But then there is this other part of me that wants so much more…so much more. I want to run faster than my literal, middle-aged physical body will move. I want to grab every moment lest another one doesn’t offer itself. The world is blooming and reawakening (as with spring) and don’t I need to be right in the middle of it? Isn’t there a book I should be writing? An article to publish? A crusade to pursue? An injustice to right? There is so much out there and so little time.
And if I did those things would it then offer the sense of satisfaction I believe I am longing for? Would it finally give me the recognition I think I deserve? Would it finally satisfy the critics voices…whispers that in truth, only exist in my own head?
I doubt it.
There needs to be an additional season. One that exists out on the frontier between winter’s cessation and spring’s movement. One called “peace” where one can just be…and that’s okay.
It’s really cold outside…