Trying to regain my enthusiasm for the season

Winter's always a dreary time of year. After December, when the drama and hype of Christmas has faded and all you have to look forward to is the bitterness of January and the long, slow drag of February. There are some nice days--the pretty soft snows that cover everything like a blessing, the lovely snowy evenings when you can sit with friends and a glass of wine, or a cup of tea and a good book, a dog curled at your feet and a little girl enjoying cartoons next to you. Ice sheathed trees that look like something out a fairy forest, the sharp crack as a branch gives way. The clear hard robin's egg blue of a clear winter's afternoon. the flurry of snowball fights, a lopsided snowman with a too-big nose and the occasional argument that no, you cannot go and get your daddy's hat and scarf for the snowman.

However, there are more grim days. The mornings when you have to chip the car out of the ice in the predawn bitter chill darkness. The gray slush that splashes up on everything, the white scrim of salt ringing every pair of shoes. Wet pants cuffs, that first breath of cold air on a frigid morning that nearly strangles. The wind that cuts like a knife through all of the layers, the dry static that lifts my hair like a dark halo around my head making me look like I've stuck my finger in a light socket. The ice lending yet another level of difficulty to maneuvering, aren't I clumsy enough as it is?

I suppose it all makes you appreciate the spring a little more. We had an unusually balmy stretch of days this winter and it really made me yearn for spring. I saw myself peering at my front garden looking for those first little shoots. That first breath of spring after a long winter is so welcome. You feel it, brushing your cheeks, lifting your hair and you lift your head out of the winter hunch. You know that position, head down, eyes squinted, shoulders squared into the wind, but that first breath of true spring makes you lift your head, relax your stance. You can smell that hint of green on the breeze even if the world is still locked in ice and snow. You can feel the change of the seasons in your bones.

It's March, in like a lion . . . here's hoping we'll see it creep out like a lamb. I'm itchy for spring, though I'm going to sit back a little more this month and try and appreciate the tail end of winter. Maybe there will be at least one more evening with the softly falling snow outside and us not having to be anywhere. We'll see.

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