The memory of winter is always the same for me. It’s always difficult in an emotional sort of way. The memories themselves are clear, but the times while they pass are hazy. I’m always half sleepy during winter, and thus only half myself. Maybe it takes adjusting to. But memories of winter are always dark.
There are memories of working on other projects years and years ago from my bedroom in my parent’s house. That was, during the moment the most profound era of my life, but retrospectively a dark and challenging time. There was the memory of starting several different employment jobs, which all for some reason began during the winter. I could never manage to summon happiness during times of employment.
Winter reminds me of hardship, both mental and physical. It reminds me of sub-zero temperatures in arctic Chicago. It reminds of the yellowness of the artificial light, heat, and electricity in our homes. It reminds me of times I would walk in the freezing ice to my bus stop, then train station, then the frost-bitten half mile walk to work. It reminds me of time spent trapped indoors, suffocated from the lack of outdoor greenery and photosynthesis.
Winters are always hard, and I don’t expect that to change. Summers are probably hard too, but are softened by the sun’s gentle warmth and the wind’s cooperative breeze. I wonder what part the weather plays in the difficulty of winter, and what part is just timing.
As arid as winter may be, I do have memories of warmth. And togetherness. In the winter, warmth is centralized, so it brings people together. It makes us feel human and vulnerable. No matter how wealthy, how prominent, you require warmth like anyone else. Winter is a humbling journey. There are of course the memories of December, which are always brought to you by the steaming of roasted coffee, the warmly lit Christmas streets, and the togetherness of the frenzy of holiday shopping.
November and December are welcome winter guests, but don’t stay for long. It’s January and February that overstay their welcome. March is a beautiful, hopeful time; April is a waiting space, and May brings back the sweet smell of nature. June, July, and August go breezing by, and winter approaches quickly yet again, before you find yourself relentlessly embraced by its gripping hold.
For all its dark and solemn memories, winter makes us stronger. While we may have conquered the physical part of it through endless technological lubrications, the mental part remains as reptilian as ever. I’m not so sure I’d be the same person I am today were it not for the Annual Winter Games. And as hard as it may be, I look forward to discovering what this year’s challenges will reveal about myself, and all there is to be learned about the world around me.
As twisted as it may be, I enjoy your annual coming, Winter.