Keeping My Balance
I think there’s some truth to the impression that Midwesterners are never fully happy with the weather, no matter what season. In the summer, we complain that it’s too hot. And, this winter, I heard my first complaint about snow maybe three weeks after the first flakes fell. It’s like we all forget what’s going to happen next (which at this point is snow and ice until March - and that’s if we’re lucky).
And, the funny thing is, I think most of us in the upper Midwest really love the change of seasons. We even love snow (well, maybe not those poor people stuck in their cars on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago for 12 hours). What makes me cranky - and probably everyone else - is our lack of mobility during winter. In summer, I get dressed, run out of the house, jump in my car and drive to work. Now, I have to wrap up in 19 layers - sweaters, coats, boots, hats, mufflers, gloves - before I even crack the front door. Then it’s scraping the windshield, brushing the snow off the car, digging out the driveway and driving slowly, trying not to slide off the road. Plus, I can never walk at a normal pace. The first time you try to go somewhere quickly in winter, bam! Down you go and you’ve broken something.
But, maybe that’s good. Every year I can relearn my lessons about patience and diligence and finding joy in quiet, inside moments. The ice makes me aware of my balance and forces me to count my steps. The snow gives me 10 minutes of cardio while I consider the day ahead. And every trip - by car or by foot - is deliberate. When nothing is easy, each decision is important. Winter makes us stronger because we must own our lives in a very different way from the carefree days summer. Still, a nice thaw every now and then with a bright shiny day thrown in never hurt anyone.