We’re caught in the grip of winter, here in El Norte, The Land of the Snow…
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In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
— Albert Camus
If you pressed me, I would tell you outright that I absolutely despise winter. I detest the cold, the short days and long nights, the layers of clothing, and the claustrophobia of confined spaces. But if I look deeper, I also know that there’s much to appreciate about winter: I love the changing of the seasons and how they mark the passage of time; the coziness of a cold Christmas morning (a barbeque in Christmas?!?! No way!!!); the excuse of not going anywhere because — “Dayum! — it’s cold outside!” I like the fact that winter allows you to get dressed to the nines when you do go out to socialize. There is a fresh, cutting newness to the air and the time spent inside can lead to much-needed physical and spiritual refueling.
I find that people who live in temperate zones — where there is a winter, think faster, and enunciate more clearly than their southern peers. Heck, you have to think fast — it’s a matter of life and death! Okay, okay, I’ll admit to a bit of northeastern snobbery, but I am just having fun and I think you get my drift. Yeah, there is much to appreciate in winter.
Winter also allows one to become more introspective, to reserve energy, and look within. Sometimes the seasons mirror the emotions we grapple with: we suddenly see or sense conflicting emotions within ourselves. The cold of winter presses in on us and we may feel tested by its sharp bite.
Yet, when we think we cannot bear a moment longer, we find a force within, an inner reassurance that comes like a summer breeze and says we do what we must. Perhaps it comes in a moment of despair, and then the realization we have made it this far — that we are strong. In our deepest sadness about the loss of a love, we may find a more meaningful relationship with something more powerful — with ourselves, for example, or a “Higher Power.”
The winters of our lives may tempt us to curse the cold and darkness. Similarly, the conflicts in our lives may tempt us to struggle with them. One side may be very clear and obvious while the other is nebulous and hidden. When we are open, these extremes become equal teachers for us. As we think about the seasons and our feelings today, what opposites do we find? Whatever the answers (or, more importantly, the questions), perhaps today we can remember that we have an invincible summer at the deepest part of the winter in our lives.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…