I just sat down with my coffee and typed "I don’t know if you’ve noticed…" and then I remembered that I try not to say unbelievably stupid things in public, and so I’ve deleted it and I’m starting over, because if you live anywhere near me then you’ve noticed what I was going to say, which is that this winter has teeth. I don’t know what’s up with Mother Nature, but she’s feeling this winter, and in the cold, snow and ice department, she’s really doing some of her best work. I can tell because every time I step outside my house I’m compelled to an immediate and involuntary expletive.
I’m not a fan. I’ve been very clear that my relationship with winter is uneasy, at best. I don’t believe in complaining all summer that it’s too hot, and then complaining all winter that it’s too cold. I say, take a stand – make up your mind – and I have. I hate being cold. This time of year exhausts me. The shovelling, the short days, the dark. Needing forty-two things every time you leave the house, wearing a hat to get the mail. The way if you forget your keys you could die, or the way you have to calculate how fast a little kid could freeze solid if you miscalculate the distance or the cold on the way home from the store.
It’s not to say that I don’t think winter has it’s charms. Ice is beautiful, in it’s own way, and a snowy forest is hard to beat for tranquility, if you can find your way to tranquil while you’re stomping your feet to try and get some feeling back into them. These long, dark tea-times of the soul are a counterpoint that makes me love summer more. I love that it’s a time of year for candles, fireplaces, tea and long hot baths – and there’s no denying that shuffling through the snow, challenged by the cold and ice and the fortitude it demands of you feels nothing short of… Canadian.
Gilles Vigneault said “Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver”, which translates to: My country is not a country, it is winter, and there’s no denying that. The winter defines most of Canada, and as much as I loathe it, I wouldn’t trade it. (Mostly. I can trade a week or two with no loss of patriotism at all.) The cold is, if nothing else – unifying.
The thing is, it just goes on so long. So terribly long, and the depth of the thing shortens the amount of time that I can do it without starting to feel really sketchy. Of all the things that challenge me about winter, it’s the loss of colour I mourn the most. The world is so monochrome. I long for a tree covered in flowers, a garden that’s nineteen colours, not just white and grey and black. I miss a landscape that’s vibrant.
These socks are an antidote.
I finished them last night and I’ve been wearing them all day today,
and they are everything that I wish I had right now, and as I sit here wiggling my toes and smiling at my socks, I’m thinking about my friend Denny, who always reminds me not to knit too much grey in the winter. It’s too hard on your soul.