After several days of nice weather, we're expected to go back to "normal" February temperatures. Everyone is angry.
I'm not. I like winter, in a strange sort of way. Every fall, I enjoy preparing for the cold. Noticing how all the leaves are gone and the air is getting crisper tickles my insides. I look forward to the feel of heavy coats and mittens over my fingers. It is such a relief to escape the oppressive heat that I feel like I can breathe deeply after months and months of congestion. When the first snow finally falls, my thoughts light up with visions of cocoa and snowmen and sledding.
It's more than that, though. Every winter I live through makes me feel like I've endured some hardship, and won. It's like I've earned a greater patience while waiting in the dark. Winter is a challenge I overcome, again and again. I come out on the other side feeling stronger, older, wiser - changed for the better. I feel rebellious every time I bundle up and go outside for recreation's sake, like I'm shaking my fist at mother nature. If nothing else, winter makes me appreciate the spring with a brand new exhilaration each and every time. I don't know how it works.
Obviously, each year I know winter is going to end and spring will come, but as the days get darker and darker... I forget. I'm so busy pushing through the cold with my head down that I'm suddenly shocked by a spray of green poking up through the grey and white. It makes me pause to look up at the sky and truly notice, as if for the first time again, how beautiful this place is. Once you've noticed one sign of spring, suddenly you see them all. You get drunk on it. It's such a wonderful, reaffirming feeling.
That feeling was so intensely magnified the year Oliver was born. Winter seemed so much more foreboding. He was so tiny and fragile in the face of all that cold. I truly felt like I had to batten down the hatches in preparation. That winter seemed so cold, so restrictive, so dark. Finally making it through to the spring was so very special - taking Oliver outside for the first time with his skin exposed to the light. Setting him down in the grass, watching his reactions as he touched it and tasted it for the first time. I felt like we both were strong to have made it that far, and we were.
We'll both feel even stronger when spring comes again this year, one more notch on our belts.