This year, I’m ready to spring into winter…
I was flipping through my day planner when I stumbled across something rather shocking. Written in bold letters under the slot for October 25 were the words: Standard Time Begins. The old phrase I learnt since moving from Jamaica to Canada began ringing in my head. “Spring forward, fall back.” But me nuh ready fi fall back yet,” I thought wildly. Then again, are we Jamaicans living in the colder climes, ever really ready to accept the idea of winter?
There’s always a certain sadness that comes with the onset of winter. It’s a sign that another season of our lives has ended, never to be grasped quite the same way again. For me, winter evokes images of darkness, reflection, and lethargy. The mere thought of winter makes me crave hearty meals and bad sitcoms… just like a bad rainy day back home. Winter has always signified struggle and hardship. Images of days of yore, as I’ve always read about, of people toiling long hours during the warmer months to prepare for winter. Food had to be harvested and stored, animals slaughtered, and firewood chopped. The luxury of grocery stores and electricity eluded them. It was people versus nature in a battle against the elements. Even our modern society has a series of rituals that are synonymous with winter. In the fall, we wrap trees with burlap, hold snowsuit drives for the poor, and seal windows with caulking to keep out the chill.
There are mental rituals too. On the last warm days of the year, I find myself struggling to memorize the forlorn cry of geese flying overhead, and the way the leaves cover the ground in a blanket of brilliant colour. But try as I might, I can never seem to fully commit these images to memory. Every year I find myself startled by the vividness of the autumn hues, and how wonderful the morning air feels on my face.
Upon my arrival in Canada a while back, I never thought about the onset of winter. Back then I recognized that winter wasn’t something that would go away if you wished hard enough for spring. You made the best of the cold weather. Winter simply meant a colder outdoor – snow forts instead of tree forts, and tobogganing instead of bike riding. It’s the essence of spirit that makes winter such a magical season for children.
So this year, instead of griping about the long, hard winter ahead, and since other commitments won’t afford me a trip to Jamaica, I’m planning to embrace the cold season. That’s right – no more whining about northerly winds and frosty temperatures. This year, I’m going to shut up and wear a tongue. Armed with mittens and sensible boots, I will brave frigid temperatures and embrace the cold. I’ll find the will to leave the protective lair of my couch for the winter wonderland outside my door. I’ll pretend I’m Oprah Winfrey and run through fields with my neighbours’ dogs. Maybe I’ll start a snowball fight, or build a snowman. I’ll shovel a stranger’s driveway just to be nice.
Winter will bring out the best in me. And people will notice. They’ll see something markedly different about me – something beyond my heavy clothing and frosty nose. They’ll see a person with a new lease on life.
I can’t lie; I’ll probably always look forward to spring. But hopefully without the same degree of desperation. For right now, as always, we are in the midst of the seasons of our lives. A time far too precious to spend waiting.