… on black and white and shades of grey (but not 50 shades)
February 25, 2015
That’s the bottle of wine (not wHine) that I was opening up the other night, just before some pretty awesome humans arrived, frigidly and snowed-upon, at our door.
At this point this winter, I do not think anyone arrives at our house warm or snow-free.
It seems to be Mother Nature’s new thing.
WHICH IS TOTALLY FINE AND I AM COMPLETELY UNAFFECTED BY HER CLEARLY PISSY ATTITUDE.
Which I have to scream out loud because this winter is now getting flucking ridiculous.
On the one hand.
Allow me to elaborate.
This winter has been quite remarkable, and record-setting actually, in my neck of the woods.
A factoid I read told me that we had a total of 7.4 inches of snow as of January 7th, and 84.5 inches of snow by mid-Febrary.
That’s a lot of the freakin’ snow.
And when I focus on the fact that there is a lot of the white stuff, and that my shoulders and back are not thrilled with clearing so much snow, and that winter isn’t even really close to totally ending because once I remember getting snow in May…
I feel, oh woe.
Woe is everyone else that has had a ton of snow dumped on them.
Also woe are those who don’t have heat in this snow…
Or people to help shovel them out if they can’t do it themselves…
Or who don’t know what roof they will sleep under, or if they can even find one, when they hear the snow is coming. Again.
And those thoughts, and stories, can bring me to tears because, as the Nearly Perfect Husband often points out, I have an overactive empathy gland (note: this is not a medical diagnosis, as no doctor has yet been able to point out an empathy gland on any scan that I have ever had. (Perhaps it is between my toes, because I don’t think we have scanned there yet)).
But then I take a cue from my own life, and realize that situations are very rarely black and white.
They really aren’t.
In some of my own darkest, most bummer-out-ist moments, there’s been light.
Sometimes it’s as literal as decorating an I.C.U. room with Christmas lights per the direction of my son, the patient, and some rather brilliant nurses.
Sometimes more figurative-eral. Like seeing a Monarch Butterfly, two miles off shore, as we scattered ashes a few months after my mother and sister died. That butterfly was an odd thing to see, flying by itself around a schooner in full sail. More importantly, it was the happening I needed, to realize that there were going to be many odd and strange and, yes, sometimes miraculous things ahead.
Or realizing, when I wrote about it just the other day, that I feel a real sense of joy – not regret, not wistfulness, or worse, resentment – in remembering how excited I was when I created a diorama for a third grade school project. That freakin’ thing was so full of stolen household merchandise (some rather embarrassing to my mother) that I got in a massive amount of trouble, but nailed the ‘A’ when my arch rival got the ‘A minus‘.
I was 8 or 9 when I built that diorama, and I know that my family was falling apart at about that time. But the fact that JoHn and I were laughing so hard as he read my post reminded me of something.
My own childhood was complicated, but it was not all bad. And to remember it as all bad would not be honest.
Oh, and by the way, no one else’s childhood was all good.
I’m just sayin’.
The bright spots don’t eclipse the darker stuff.
The sucky stuff is there, and I think it needs to be there.
I remember it all. My memory is really good (which drives my kids and husband crazy, because they have a tough time getting away with much).
But to take it in… all of it… each bit and piece of the dramas and comedies and tragedies that make up life is… well…
I feel so much joy and gratitude for what my life is today – not the stuff in it, the life. I have been given the gift of being able to contrast it with a point when I didn’t see true love, or joy or hope as possibilities.
Which brings me back to the freakin’ snow.
I don’t want to shovel any more of it.
Like, at all.
I’m excited for spring.
I can almost smell the earth defrosting…
And see the robins returning…
And hear the peepers peeping.
This entire winter will go down in the history books, and in years to come I’ll hear the horror stories of how much snow there was, and that there was no place to put it.
We’ll compare stories of ice dams and roof leaks and how scary it was by the ocean, where erosion combined with a nasty blizzard can take a house away.
But then, the bright spots will shine through for me.
Because, oh my Gawd, I do not remember a prettier winter.
The snow has fallen so often, that it hasn’t had time to get dirty (yep, even with three dogs who really love the color yellow).
It is so deep that we can’t really tromp through it, so much of the landscape has remained absolutely pristine…
and when the sun hits the snow just right, it sparkles.
Also, I have seen so many absolutely beautiful sunsets, not in the skies, but on the earth…
I am not going to forget that stuff.
Maybe in twenty years I’ll be blogging about it… you know, with my new holographic blogging software.
I’ll write about how glorious a warm fire in the fireplace and a good book were, when there was nothing else we could do but ride out another storm.
The year Mother Nature went on a purity kick, and was determined to keep the world sheathed in nearly flawless white, if only for a few months.
Thanks for readin’.
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