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Thank You, Winter. See You Next Year!

Even though it was a mild winter here in New England this year, it was still winter. Short, cold days, lots of rain, not nearly enough sun. Five months of a wet, gray chill.  No wonder bears sleep through it.

I like the change of seasons so I welcome the coming of winter. The holidays occupy me for the first month, so I don’t think about how the darkness and the cold are slowly chipping away at my optimistic outlook and my overall sunny demeanor. In January, I enjoy the new holiday gift books and the time to read them by the fire. I always have a bagful of crochet projects to catch up on, a list of TV shows to binge and plenty of writing projects to keep me busy. I take on these pursuits with enthusiasm, only to realize sometime in mid-March that I’ve been sitting on my butt for months.

By then the damage has been done. With the exercise schedule abandoned, the sugar cravings reestablished, the pounds packed on and the sedentary lifestyle cemented in, I discover I’ve been slowly, almost imperceptibly, overcome by a general malaise that’s just the way things are now.

Until those first warm, sunny days.

It doesn’t even need to be that warm. 60º could feel practically tropical in April, but somewhere in the 50s will work, too. Just warm enough to remind me that winters always end—eventually. Just bright enough to get me looking ahead. Venturing outside. Entertaining new possibilities. Planting new seeds. 

I can’t explain this feeling, this coming out of hibernation. It’s like a hopeful, life-affirming, call to action. A fountain of youth. Get up! Get out! Get moving! Do things! OK! You bet! I’m coming!

But, I’ve discovered, in order to appreciate the full rejuvenating effect of the earliest warm days, you have to have first lived through a slew of cold ones. Lots of people leave New England because they hate the winter. I feel bad for them. Because, without winter, they can never have spring. 

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