Yesterday when I woke up and dove across the room for my alarm, the windows of my house were glistening — early sunlight barely catching on condensation frosting in the corners.
For the first time in a while, I’m looking forward to the snow. I’ve been buying apple cider and candles, pulling my mittens out of storage. I’ve been throwing open the curtains so my home will absorb as much glancing bright light as it can, wandering outside to see the red traces of the sunrise as the air grows sharper.
I’m sure the novelty will wear off after the first great whiteout, and I’ll lock the doors and burrow under a pile of blankets until May like usual. But now, with winter only promising and not yet corporeal — it makes me think of change, action, opportunity.
There are two reactions to the cold: cover your skin and hide from it, or dress warm and embrace it. It can close you down or wake you up. Neither is the right reaction — just two options, and all winter long, we’ll pick one every day.
This has been a year of small changes for me — new home, new things to learn, new goals being made and met. It feels some days like my bones are growing into my skin and it’s beginning to fit properly, like I’m finally figuring out the calibration for the internal circuits. I’ve been reopening old hobbies and setting others aside, trying things and rediscovering past loves I didn’t know I still had.
After college I stopped reading for pleasure for a while — a little, here and there, then back to Netflix and nature walks. Besides, I read enough at work to fill up my daily quota of words.
In the last few months, though, I’ve begun again. I’ve been working my way through new stories that catch my eye, books on my shelves I skimmed a chapter of and then set aside. Two weeks ago I looked up on a Saturday and realized it was dark out, and I’d read four books in a day.
I’m still trying to figure out how that happened.
I’ve gotten in the habit of baking to relieve stress (it helps, honestly — I highly recommend it). But lately I’ve started baking again without the pressure, purely for the joy of it. Last week I experimented with the perfect homemade brownie recipe; I’m not there yet, but I’m close. (If you have it already, feel free to help a girl out — my email is email@example.com.)
And I don’t mean to brag, but I watered my house plants twice this week, and none of them are dead yet.
I’ve been angry for a long time, I think, as I’ve watched myself and the people I love try to patch together the cracks worn into our skin by the people who promised they knew what was best for us. It still scares me, after all this time; fear and anger are two sides of a coin. It’s a toss up which one I’ll get on any given day.
I’ve been thinking, though, that this is the time for me to figure it out. Anger is healthy, and those who say otherwise are often selling a weak replacement — but anger is a sorry stopping place. And fear can be healthy, truly; but a good love drives it out.
It’s a little confusing to me that “fitting my own skin” looks a lot like childhood to me — reading and making, getting work done and playing. Having the freedom not to worry about the scrapes on our shins; probably just signs of getting into trouble.
Of being awake.
This feels a bit like writing New Year’s resolutions — it’s all fine and dandy until the third weekend after, and then that gym membership begins to lapse. Maybe it’s an exercise in futility.
Just now, though, winter’s peeking over the windowsill, and we’re nearly prepared for the first big storm.
This could be a really good year.