Today we had actual real weather in California. We had a night and morning of raging winds so strong even my usual Tuesday tennis was cancelled. The courts were covered with detritus and the air howled when the gusts hit.
I headed home and the internet and phone service were both down. It was so cold, I hated to leave my warm car, so I went inside grabbed a mug of green tea and went back to the car and finished listening to a public radio show in my driveway. It was cozy and warm in the car, and I thought I should really do this more often.
Later on, since I couldn’t really work or waste time checking the news, I took the opportunity to find a spot on the couch to finish the wonderful book, Wintering, I have been absorbing. This book, by Katherine May, is about embracing winters in a literal and figurative sense. We go through many winters or hard times in our lives, and like real winters, we need to slow down, do less and listen to our bodies and find healing in these times. It’s a beautifully written and descriptive book and it has me savoring these January days and giving into the impulse to stay in and stay cozy. Rather than wishing for warm weather and spring, I am instead trying to appreciate the gifts only the cold season has to offer.
I embraced this chilly day and had some old fashioned Lipton noodle soup from the box, as my mom would make for us kids on winter days. If that wasn’t in the pantry, we had egg noodles slathered with margarine… and sometimes grilled cheese sandwiches too. My mom grew up in Wisconsin, and knew how to make the most of cold days. Just that red soup box brings me back to blustery winter days eating lunch in our blue flower wallpapered kitchen overlooking the big front yard sycamore that would rattle with the storms.
After lunch, when we were small, she would make us take naps. Mom was a lifelong devotee of naps, even as a young girl and being an anxious person, I think they were a kind of meditation for her and a way to calm herself and get through the day. All my life, whenever I was tired or stressed, mom would say, ‘go get on your couch for a while and take a nap’. Most of my life, I resisted that. Today I took a nap, belly full of soup and enjoyed the coziness of hearing the storm from the warm couch under a blanket. I realized I don’t take advantage of an occasional nap on a cold winter day. I don’t make the buttered noodles enough or the soup. I vow to do it more.
What I took away from Wintering, is that we need to be kinder to ourselves and this is never more true than years like we are in now. We should use this quiet and more isolated season to take more time for reflection, sleep, winter walks in nature, pampering, enrichment, reading, crafts, cooking and whatever fills our tanks. The new body, fitter self and perfect home and wardrobe is not what is going to bring us joy. It’s the parts of each day that we fully live in the moment that will help us get through this next part of the pandemic and the strife of now.
If you want a balm for the times we are in, I love Katherine’s book. It’s a little history, part healing and encouragement, as all of us have a winter of some kind in our lives. She reminds us it’s cyclical and we go through rough patches many times throughout life and become stronger because of them.
Also, I will add, that we should listen to our moms and take more naps and enjoy soup or butter noodle days when we need a little cocooning.