I am a native of the Pacific Northwest. I have lived through nearly three decades of these winters.
Late sunrises, early sunsets. Bare naked trees, white-topped mountains. Quiet blizzards, drizzling skies.
Twenty-eight years into this life and I am finally starting to see the world around me.
Like, really really see it. Not just see it, but savor it.
The layers of gray and blue. The softness of the sun as it shines from the south. Filtered yellow highlighting the edges.
I notice my latitude on the planet.
A visit to Iceland in 2011 helped me to appreciate the beauty of the north. Travel will do that to you. Travel will help you see your own home through a sharper lens.
The Pacific Northwest takes on a different hue in the winter. She becomes dark and still, mysterious and hopeful.
I do not operate on a separate continuum from this earth and her seasons. I am this earth, I am her seasons.
I become a different person in the winter. I take refuge indoors. I hibernate. I hide.
And I am cold. My nose, my fingers, my toes. I bundle up, I still get cold. The bath water never stays hot for long enough.
I wear my parka inside. I sit on top of space heaters in my big and drafty 110 year-old home on the crest of a hill.
But when I look through the tall leaded windows facing the south, framing the rising and setting sun, a knowing rises like the cream to the top.
I belong here. In this blue and gray world punctuated by brightness. A student of the seasons.
The winter light subdues the fire inside of me. This is a time for becoming. The quiet before the rebirth.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
– Albert Camus