Growing up just outside of Vancouver, BC, I did not really ever experience a “true” Winter. Sure, we had snow at times but mostly we had rain and clouds. And rain and clouds. And more rain. And more clouds. I suffered through along with everyone else, so naïve, and OH SO spoiled! As I grew older I came to appreciate those days and now my soul yearns for them. There is something so achingly beautful about the fog lifting out of the trees…
In 2003 or so, my family moved to the Interior of BC. That was the beginning.. Cue ominous music. The interior gets Winter. Snow and Cold! All the time. How would I manage? I could still be a whiny baby with rain and fog! But even at that, Winter in the interior ended up being a real novelty. “Oh look! Its snowing!” It got cold but it was new to me, never lasted all that long. I felt all proud of myself. Look at me, surviving and stuff.
Eight years ago we moved to Edmonton. Now I’ve got Winter. Boy, do I ever! I even get Winter in Spring.
And in Summer.
And in Fall.
I’ve got Winter, REAL Winter, nine months out of the year and most years I’m not happy about it. I regularly throw completely irrational, boring, “I hate Winter” temper tantrums. I regularly create my own suffering by grasping at the warm weather as it leaves me here to freeze. I regularly deny the impermanence of the seasons and refuse to accept that I live in a northern climate that experiences, cold winters.
The thing is, I’ve tried to appreciate the season and the cold. To hunker down and enjoy being cozy. To read books and drink tea and enjoy the down time. I have tried forcing myself out into the cold, to just get out and make the best of it, to see the goodness in cold crisp days. And bright blue skies. And you know, in the 15 years of Winter living, I have survived nicely. I am tough. I am resilient. I can endure the coldest of the cold. I walk to work! 50 mins, in -35C without complaint. I just get out there and do it. But if you ask me how I feel about the cold, about Winter, still after all my tricks and insights, efforts and spiritual awakening, I will tell you: I.hate.Winter.
Having said all that, something odd has happened.
Today is the first day of Spring. Our Winter was typical. Nothing really changed there but for the first time in 15 years it felt…short. I find myself looking at the calendar and saying” Oh! It’s over? Already?” I don’t know what happened…I just kind of ignored Winter this year. I can remember looking out at the snow with a grimace and grumbling”Oh. Its you again. ” and moving on. Much like how meditation teachers tell us to view our thoughts as they pass by, acknowledge them and then move on.
Hot damn, it actually works!
Winter, just is. It will always be, what it has always been. I, on the other hand can choose how I relate to Winter. I’m probably never going to be a person who thrives happily in the cold. But I DO still thrive. I’m here. I’m alive. I made it! And yes it would be ideal if I could do this in good cheer but that hasn’t happened in 15 years and that’s ok too. By acknowledging the cold and then moving on, I seem to have lessened my suffering and that my friends, is good enough for me!
It seems the trick this whole time was to accept what is-gee, who knew!?-and just get on with living. Another lesson learned. Remind me of this next October.
So here’s my next question, if I bitch and moan and resist Spring, Summer and Fall…will they feel like forever too? Its something to try…