Everyone I know has heard me bitch about the cold at least a dozen times this winter. I don’t enjoy it and wish it would go far, far away. This is nothing new.
Just because I don’t enjoy something, though, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. It doesn’t mean that whatever I don’t enjoy doesn’t have its own value separate from my belief.
The cold, as much as I despise it, is extremely clarifying. There is nothing quite like trekking across the streets, ice crunching underneath the soles of worn out boots, breath curling and twisting as a fine mist in the air around the face, the chill that seeps into the bones as the muscles burn from working out, legs stretching and gliding, arms shoved into coat pockets. The mind stills. Everything becomes silent, save for the music playing softly. Halfway home, I remove the headphones and I’m welcomed by the brush of wind flying by, whistling past pine trees. There’s a fine sheet of ice over the snow, glinting multifaceted colour as the light from nearby streetlamps fall upon it.
The cold makes you face what you might not want to face: your vulnerability as a human; the feelings you thought you’d buried deep within yourself that, for some reason, bubble up your throat and past your lips as soon as the warmth starts to slide off your skin.
I think what I like the most is the silence. The stars clear, shining brightly above, with no perceivable noise to accompany them. No small animals moving about. The constant cicada hum that signals summer, warm winds, sun, gone. Asleep.
It’s a cold silence. An unforgiving silence. One that might bring tears to your eyes if you weren’t so worried about them freezing on your cheeks.
I don’t do the most thinking on nights like these. But I do my deepest thinking. The sort of thinking that requires self-inspection, a sharp gaze pointed inward, and the stripping of any and all denial.
It brings to mind the last stanza of the famous Robert Frost poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
It’s a melancholic air, but refreshing, as well. As if it takes everything bottled up inside and releases it, letting it burn in the atmosphere as inconsequential dust.
For the first time in a long time, my eyes felt open. Awakened.