The frost has settled in here. It snuck in overnight, causing a scramble for coats and boots, hats and mittens this morning before school. We worked out the minute intricacies of how each new zipper and fastener works, looking for the secret jimmies and tricks to getting outside quickly. Car seat straps adjusted for extra bulk and seat backs covered for boot kicks.
It is a cold, sunny day in the East. The first thrilling glimpse of winter is here. Today is a day when a hat is not optional, a fleece jacket alone won't cut it. The first step along a long, cold path towards darkness, and heaviness, and snow-covered months. And while the solstice isn't technically until December, winter settles in much earlier than that around here.
Everything seems harder in the winter. More bundling. More time to get places. Less sunlight to cheer us on through the chill. Dirt and wet in every corner, trudged in on heavy boots, muddy paws and dripping mittens. But for now we're just at the beginning. We look at each other and make winter jokes about snow brushes and shovels, try on our coats from last year and search for matching gloves. The frost is novel, and the sunlight glinting on icy leaves is charming. For now.
We have four birthdays to celebrate in our home this winter. C is turning 40 next week, in a few days actually. Then a week later O will be one. One whole year. Then my birthday, in February. Only E was born in the warmth and sunshine of summer.
Of course Calla's birthday is right in the middle of winter. At the beginning of January, when the calendar turns to another new year. Forever I will associate the coldest depths of winter with her death and birth, that freezing night in January when I wanted to burn myself alive.
And so looking to winter, feeling our corner of the Earth turning away from the sunlight, makes my heart a little heavier. My soul is bundling up, fortifying its reserves for the long season ahead. There are some wonderful warm oases sprinkled throughout the upcoming months of our frigid desert winter, and during the dark days I will lumber, head down and hopefully, towards them.
Right now it is sunny and cold, but soon it will be gray and icy, and simply going outside will seem like too much of a bother. Right now the chilis and soups and breads and oven-baked dinners are satisfying. Right now winter seems survivable.