Set In

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It hit me today. Winter, I mean. Of course, I've known it's winter for a month or so and there has been a little bit of snow and some ice and a lot of cold temperatures but I was fine. Really. I had words and good company and my new espresso maker. I had comfy sweats and hoodies and warm socks. Yes, I was fine.

But today the skies are gray and my toes hurt from freezing and thawing and freezing again and it all feels like a bit too much.

When I was little and my mom and I were at the cabin, we would sometimes watch storms roll in from across the lake. They came through fast and moved on quickly, leaving sunshine and wet grass in their wake. But sometimes, I'd wake up to gray skies and slow and steady rain and find my mother staring out the window. She'd turn and say, "It's set in for the day." Set in. Temporarily permanent.

That's how winter feels today. I know it's not going anywhere for awhile - I've known all along - but today I feel it. My body aches a bit more and my worries feel a bit heavier.

I texted a friend earlier and said that I needed a cabin, a wood burning stove and a good book. Winter always feels more manageable in those circumstances. But I'm not at a cabin and there is no fire and I don't like the book I'm reading. So, I need to make some adjustments.

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I'm going to focus on my mug of hot tea and put on warmer socks. I'm going to look at pictures I took at the cabin on the first day of the new year and remember that winter carries its own kind of beauty. I'm going to stare at the snow on the branches of the tree outside my window and hope to catch a glimpse of the cardinals. I'm going to remind myself that I have survived 23 Minnesota winters so chances are good that I'll survive this one.

I just have to be patient with winter and myself.