"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Sunday, December 28, 2003
Entering the Frost
cold Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English ceald, cald; akin to Old High German kalt cold, Latin gelu frost, gelare to freeze
Date: before 12th century
1 a : having or being a temperature that is uncomfortably low for humans b : having a relatively low temperature or one lower than normal or expected c : not heated: as (1) of food : served without heating especially after initial cooking or processing (2) : served chilled or with ice (3) : involving processing without the use of heat
2 a : marked by a lack of the warmth of normal human emotion, friendliness, or compassion ; also : not moved to enthusiasm b : not colored or affected by personal feeling or bias :
3 : what I feel in my heart sometimes when winter is outside
We are now entering the darkest days of the year, and this time I plan to survive them.
Last year, I almost didn't. As I stand here now and look back, I find myself glad that I did make it through, that I somehow have this second chance to make my life work when it has been running on bad fuel for so long.
Right now, we are in that phase of winter between Christmas and New Years, when the world around us is not quite sure what season it is in. Although Christmas is over, decorations are still up and lit, our Christmas tree is still up and decorated, and there are even some unopened presents waiting to be claimed later this week.
Ahead, there is the bleakness of January, with its long frigid nights and gelid, misty dawns. January, with its early sunsets and ice storms. January, with its overwhelming emptiness.
And then on the other side, February. The only bright spark there is Valentines day. But at least it's a spark.
Hey, in the middle of this glacialness, I'll take any spark I can get.
But this year, even the vast emptiness of winter will be a victory for me. I've made it. I've beat the odds.
So what if I feel cold and lifeless inside. I'm walking, I'm breathing, and tomorrow will eventually be warmer and the ice will eventually melt.
And there I will stand, whole.
And there is a great deal to be said for that, isn't there?
It's so easy to forget that all of the struggles in our lives are followed by times of peace. We are prone to think that it is winter and will always be winter. But every January has a May, at least so far.
Time is seldom a line. It is usually a circle. And we come around and go from up to down to up, from good to bad to good. It is our nature, I think, to try to achieve balance. When we get too far in one direction, we necessarily flow towards the center. When it's summer inside, that's a curse. But when it's winter inside, it's a blessing.
The honeymoon capitol of North America is Niagara Falls.
The suicide capitol of North America is also Niagara Falls.
So I will remember, this winter, that wintertime passes and sunshine and warmth return, both outside and inside in my heart.
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it—the whole story doesn’t show.