Walking with Winter
A Self Portrait.
Seasons and cycles are a part of life. A part of our DNA, a movement of time. I’m a fair-weather friend to Winter. And Winter tries so hard here in my neck of Colorado. She gets fussy, brings around biting cold (usually without the consolation of the fluffy white pretties) and then apologizes a few days later with sun that would make Californians feel right at home.
Some years we get a stretch of just mean cold. Not mean like some of you have to deal with for months on end, but mean enough that I miss the warmth. I miss being comfortable.
There are many seasons of my life where I have missed being comfortable. Usually these are in seasons of the unknown; seasons of waiting to understand, waiting to know.
My darkest season stretched over a year. A thick sheet of numb and pain and waiting. I went though the motions of loving, of breathing. I had a new boy with eyes like portals. Portals to somewhere safe that I could almost remember. I had a toddler with a wooden sword and boundless energy who I knew that I loved if I could only remember how to do it right. A husband who still loved me but I couldn’t figure out why.
It’s what depression took from me. Remembering how to be who I was just months, weeks before. How had I gotten to be ugly in so many ways? How could I not remember how to be me, to even breath like me?
That was one difference. I didn’t breathe the same. Sometimes when the walls closed in I couldn’t breath at all. I would try to pace my breaths with a clock; Was a second too fast? Two… three… four?
I got through because I learned to wait.
I learned that if I wait, and pray, and trust I will get just enough of what I need to feel human again. To be able to remember what human feels like -that alone could help me go back to waiting.
I learned that waiting teaches us to be alone with ourselves and our weaknesses and fears.
It also introduces us to our growing strengths.
My eyes were opened to a whole world of people who I had never really seen before. They looked like me now. Or, I looked like them now. I could see the burden hanging over them. I could see them trying to breathe. I learned that in sitting with them we could both inhale again.
I’ve learned to walk more comfortably in the cold. I feel the bite on my skin, I miss the warmth. But after a moment of acknowledgment and acceptance I enjoy the frost and the fog and the sparkle of crystals formed through hardships of their own. They light the scene in those moments of sun and reflects the light back to my waiting winter eyes.