Winter Days

I’m sitting at the south window of our bedroom looking out at sun dappled woods.  The pale winter sky peaks through a mix of intricate gray lace and pine green plumes. 

This is my darkest month.  I have always struggled with the cold dark days of February.  The odd thing about my trouble is that I love the winter.  I love all the seasons in their turn.  It doesn’t seem logical that I would struggle emotionally through any of them.  I love the steel gray of the low sky that comes with the Southeast Texas winter.  The long shadows that stretch across the land and the colored leaves which cling to trees till spring ones push them off at last. 

I have promised myself I will do all the things needed to not let the bottom fall out of my emotions. What are all the things?  Seeking sunlight at every opportunity.  Lighting candles everywhere.  Soaking in a hot tub of bath water in the evenings.  Getting fully dressed even when staying in for the day.  Riding with him when he goes on cow business.  Making time for friends.  Making time for Duchesses.  Making myself see the beauty around me.    

I have set myself a real challenge.  This Valentine weekend, I plan to have both Duchesses spend two nights.  We may go to a birthday party Saturday I’ve been invited to or we may stay here and have the tea party I had already planned.  It will depend on how well we all sleep Friday night for the most part. 

Thinking about the weekend, making plans, gathering supplies, making ready has been a very good way to keep the gloomies at bay.  Looking forward to all the love and affection exchanged between the three of us is a perfect way to keep my heart up. 

Most importantly, I am trusting in the Lord to comfort me as He always has.  Rock helps me get through this.  I have him and some others who pray specifically for my difficult days of winter. 

This year they don’t seem so dark after all…………………

Cabin Fever

It occurred to me recently that here in this part of the world, it is more likely to have cabin fever in the summer time.  The summer’s deadly heat and humidity drives everyone in to the air-conditioned spaces the same way deadly cold and snow drives those in northern climes inside during winter.  If one is fortunate, there is a source for water play outdoors. A lake, creek, water park or in our case a little blow-up pool in the back yard makes it possible to actually enjoy being outside mid-day.  I always get the little pool ready when the duchesses are coming to see me.    

I terribly miss the warm lake waters we swam in growing up.  The place we once spent all summer is now off limits to those without camp houses on the road to it.  The other locations we swam at are overgrown and full of alligators these days.  We got rid of the boat sitting collecting dust.  We used to take it to a sandbar on the river.   The cold current of the river waters don’t compare to laying on a float drifting in a lake cove any way. 

Maybe that is what I need to work on.  Checking to see if the one possible swimming place is still viable on the lake.  I might not want to take the duchesses there just yet.  I have seen too many alligators out in the open lake this summer to allow me any consideration of that.  A couple of adults should be okay. Right? 

I have a friend who will surely be up for the adventure.  I doubt he will have time or inclination to try it. The friend I have in mind shares the same memories of that lake and that place.  She and I have spent many a summer day roasting in the sun and cooling off in the waters of the muddy lake. 

Our lake is shallow and sandy bottomed.  The water is light brown and opaque.  Warm and soothing.  I still remember finding “cold spots” when we would get out chest deep or so.  A current of deeper water would swirl up and there would be a fleeting pocket of cooler water.  We would get excited and try to stay in it while it lasted. 

No doubt my memories are gilded in the haze of distant memory and cloaked in remembrance of innocent youthful ideals.  I might be disappointed if I face the water again now.  That is true.  I may not like it now.  That will certainly not take away the glorious memories that play through my mind from days of old. We were young and full of ourselves. Anxious to escape this sand hill.  I never did really leave except a few years away at the beginning of adulthood. And now with the halfway mark of my life well past, I am unlikely to ever leave again. 

I am accustomed to weathering the summer heat and the winter rain right here on this sand hill.  I can tell if a storm might actually make it to here from which way it is coming.  The high bluff of the river valley has a definite power over the storms.  I know which windows to avoid the summer sun and which ones to seek for the winter sun.  I know where to go to see the diamonds glittering on the ripples of the lake or to see the herons stalking fish. I know how to overcome the summer doldrums and manage the barrage of mosquitos. 

What I don’t know is how I got so blessed?  When I was 16, had I been able to look forward to this very summer 50 years later, and seen myself living here in this very house on this very sand hill, I would have gone mad with distress.  Now I can’t see myself any where else.  Even were our parents still living, we would have been on this hill a half mile away as the crow flies.  Tied to place through love and memory. A shallow lake. Tall pines. White sand roads. Bicycles. Kids being kids.

I am blessed that he loves me enough to put up with being here.  I know it isn’t his ideal.  And certainly, if his perfect situation arose, I would go with him.  My home is here, though.  No matter where my future days take us, this will ever be home.