The Dead of Winter

The dead of Winter is usually the most challenging time for those of us who live in Northern Climates where snow, ice, and frigid temperatures are a real thing. Living in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont requires developing some kind of relationship with the seasons, whether that means you hide away like hibernating animals or frolic in the chill is completely up to you.

I personally choose the frolicking!

While most folks don't mind winter for Christmas and even into the New Year, by the time February-March comes around there is an itch to be active, and if your not a winter frolicker that means an awful lot of stir-crazy, and for many a desire to fly south for a week or two of sunshine. This year many are skipping their yearly flight south, choosing to avoid travel during the pandemic. Which means a need to find another way to keep themselves going.

Even though I am one of those winter-frolickers I do find myself bubbling up with a desire to do something, go somewhere, experience something different by the time mid-Februrary comes. My way of satisfying this desire to do something different has been to spend a lot of time around outdoor fires with friends and to watch a lot of travel shows. Dreaming about the places I want to go and remembering the places I have been reminds me that this too shall pass, that like winter the pandemic will eventually run its course and the heaviness of its weight will someday be a thing of the past.

Humans are often short-sighted and easily inconvenienced. We also have a tendency to experience our hardship much more deeply than our happiness, seeing the things that inconvenience us as unbearable burdens when in truth they are simply part of the ebb and flow of life. There are times for playing in the sunshine and times for sitting tight. In these times of sitting tight when we feel the weight of the world around us and the isolation of our thoughts, we need to remember the sun will return and we will once again be free to celebrate with those we love. Just like winter that makes our worlds small and forces us to reschedule our plans over and over again, this time of hardship is fleeting in the grand scale of our lifetime.

I know it feels heavy, and that many are experiencing genuine hardship, and that poverty and death are a real thing, but those are also a reality of living in a harsh climate! Every year people worry about having enough money for fuel oil, and food, and whether their asthma can handle the winter weather. We humans have always experienced hardship of one kind or another. It is what we do in those times that really matter. If we are doing well and able to get through the winter (or pandemic) we can think communally and do what we can to help others who are not fairing as well, whether that be by donating to the local food shelf, sending cards to senior citizens, or hosting a fire in your yard for friends who are struggling. We need to remember we are a tribal society, that humans by nature need one another. Not only do we need people to help us if we are struggling, but