|Happy little jade.
When I look directly to my left from my desk, this is what I see, EJ's happy little jade plant. Yesterday, it sat in a pool of sunlight, sunlight that shone its way right over to me. The sun on my face made me turn, then see that plant, then smile and take a photo.
It is bitter cold outside, some 20-30 degrees colder than average. Even if we'd not had eight straight weeks of this weather, we'd be psychologically ready for spring by the end of February. Given the temps and snow, we were ready three weeks ago. That's not happening, though. The cold isn't just cold, it's frigid, and those spring showers we hear about—well, they'll be spring snow showers, with the chance that by Tuesday, we'll have another fresh foot of the white stuff on the ground.
Still, though, it has been sunny. It is an odd thing for the sun not to make you feel warmer—the cognitive dissonance on that is high—but according to the news, it has been the sunniest February in eight years. I have said many times that the hardest thing about moving back to the Great Lakes was the loss of sunlight, a loss that has led to me getting a small seasonal affective disorder light to help trick my body into feeling awake during the worst of the winter. As miserable as our weather situation has been, the extra sunlight has improved my mood—how on earth would any of us have endured this atypically harsh season without bright light to carry us through?
So yesterday, when I saw that jade plant, and realized that it had no idea that the outdoors would kill it, it just soaked up the sunlight in our indoor radiator heat and kept on trucking, I decided that was going to be my approach for whatever extended weeks of winter we have left.
Let's be real, Midwesterners (and all who love us), Mother Nature has forsaken us. Don't bother calling her, she's not picking up. The good news, though, is that we have had ample time to go through the stages of grief, and we are ready to move forward. I'm done being depressed—I am exhausted hearing myself say how much I hate the weather, I can't imagine what all you lovely readers think. I don't have the energy left to be angry—cold temps and car-window ice-scraping sap the energy for righteous ire right out of you. I used to think bargaining might help, but who am I kidding? Denial doesn't work, either: every time we leave our homes, we know the horrible truth. It all comes back to acceptance—eight+ unrelenting weeks in, and there is nowhere else to go.
Yes, tomorrow it will be March. No, it isn't going to be nice out. It just isn't. But it might sometimes be sunny, and I'm going to will some springtime energy into my mind and my space no matter what it takes.
Last night, I attended an event about Provencal food and wine, and just like always, thinking of my time in Aix, looking at pictures of that remarkably blue Southern France sky, getting to speak French, and drinking lovely warm weather-friendly rosés, brought me to my happy place. By tasting-glass number three—oh, there were so many glasses, bless the wonderful Alliance Francaise—I declared in my own mind, "Winter, I have no more time for you. In my mind, I'm living the good life. I'm living SPRING."
|The colors of French rosé. They all tasted delicious, I promise.
So far today, while doing some grocery shopping, I purchased hydrangeas and clementines, then set them out to enjoy in front of Cézanne's St. Victoire.
|Les fleurs et les fruits.
Setting out beautiful, fresh things always necessitates picking up those last little items left on the table: the homework scratch paper, the errant envelope from the mail hastily opened, the cup of tea that didn't make it to the dishwasher. Willing in spring feelings is willing in spring cleaning, too, and I'm all the better for it.
Adding to the party is the chicken stock I'm making. Leek tops, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaf, and the saved remains of our roast chicken from Tuesday's dinner look like springtime in a pot. All. That. Color. The smell of this bubbling away all day has been heaven, and I am banking on a supply of this stock in the freezer to fortify us for any freakish springtime snowstorms or arctic blasts. Springtime, I'm willing you into being with chicken elixir, used equally well in rib-sticking winter braises as in light, spring-vegetable soups and risottos.
|The greenest things around these days are celery and leek tops.
I'll take 'em.
So join me, Polar Vortex Survivors*, and those springtime lovers who empathize with us, as we will the power of SPRING into our homes. It isn't happening outside, and we don't need a meteorologist to tell us that. Who knows when "outdoor spring," as I'm now calling it, will actually arrive? We must take things into our own hands. Twenty-four hours into my personal, "indoor spring" campaign, and I haven't felt this sunny for months.
*Yesterday, I signed up to attend BlogHer 2014—hope to see you there, too! When asked what I wanted on my name-badge, I chose: Writer, Polar Vortex Survivor. Wouldn't you have done the same?