the lonely winter


(holga / ilford 100 film)

winter feels so very lonely to me this year and i have been thinking about the whys of this and whether this is a new feeling with respect to winter or a leftover emotion from winter's past and my observations are this,

  • we walk our dog every single night at the same time as it is a routine that he needs and demands and we give him because his life has not always felt safe and he is a rescue dog and that is just the way it is.  it is a little thing that makes him feel secure and i get it because i have the soul of a rescue dog and routine helps me feel much the same way even though i jump off cliffs and leave my comfort zone all the time but i keep routine within that.  digression is my middle name.  in the spring, summer and fall we are always running into people and their dogs, there are a lot of dog lovers in our hood.  now that winter had deeply rooted itself and our 6:00 pm walks are now in the black of night, we never run into anyone on our lonely walk of three.  not a peep.  there is the occasional car but otherwise just the frosty breath of our snow crunch walk.  it is a good lonely actually as it feels as though the white world is ours and ours alone.  but i wonder about the doggies and i wonder if they still get their daily exercise and exploration and play outside as they bark out of windows at our ty dog proudly prancing in his booties and coat.
  • the snow muffles sound in a way that feels lonely and the wind howls and blows the snow around and you tighten your hood and pull down your toque and delve down deeper into your scarf until your face is barely visible, a lonely bulky figure, indistinguishable from the next, walking head down at a fast pace not stopping to smile to make conversation because the cold prevents you from even wanting to stop at the crosswalk never mind for another person.  isolating lonely which is not a good lonely.
  • "lets meet up for coffee or a drink or lunch" happens less in the winter because leaving the warm cozy of your home feels less than desirable.  going anywhere is a huge pain.  you have to warm up the car which entails clearing off any snow that may have accumulated on said car, defrost the windows and scrape off any large chunks of ice.  you have to pull on your boots, wrap a scarf around your neck, ensure you have enough layers on then pull the parka over top and oh crap the keys are on the table instead the side table where they are supposed to be and so off come the boots because they are still wet and frozen from your last trip and then back on and oh crap your hair is pulling on the parka zipper and so it comes off and you tuck your hair in carefully as you pull it back on.  toque on head, gloves or mitts on and damn it you really need to change purses because getting the cross strap purse on and off over the big furry hood is next to impossible and when are you going to just pull a backpack down and use that because it would be way easier.  breath.  you are almost out the door.  and then you navigate the ice and snow and avoid the bad drivers who want to run into you and finally arrive at your destination with rosy red cheeks and wet knees because you slid down on the ice on the way from your car after somehow managing to secure a parking spot only four blocks away.  and the coffee shop is hot and you are suddenly sweating and it is a big production hug hug kiss kiss, hair pulls and flies in a static dance around you as you attempt to remove all the layers until you finally sit down exhausted by it all knowing you are going to have to do it all again soon.  not to mention, the cold and then melt has caused your mascara to drip down your left cheek and you laugh and talk and reach behind your head and realize you have a huge rat's nest tangle going on that will take you a good 30 minutes of hair brush pain when you get home.  better to be lonely than to deal with all that especially when i already have to go through it to go to work every day and to go to the gym every day and oh you know maintenance stuff like massages, grocery shopping and assorted errands that are needed.  i love you but come over here and i will make you coffee.  oh wait, you would rather stay home too.  i totally get it.
  • white.  the white sky, the white crystals that float in the air, the white ground, the white breathe, the white steam, the white trees, the white overtakes everything.  there is a loneliness that sits in the white that is almost indescribable but when you live with it for months on end, you feel it just below your breastplate, right there.

there are so many beautiful and good things about winter but there is a thread of lonely that runs through my veins at this time of the year.  at the beginning.  during the adjustment period.  it has only been a week since it began and i haven't figured it out yet, re-learned its ways.  i am still using the wrong purse, the wrong gym bag and i time the warming of the car wrong and i am not as organized as i need to be but i will get there and then i will notice the other things, the way the snow lights up the city, the sparkle and beauty and magic in it and it will eventually feel less lonely as people adjust and bright eyes peep out with red cheeks and smile and commiserate with you and total strangers strike up conversations about the weather and we all feel like we are in it together, hearty and somehow brave.  and i will remember to keep my hair in braids and my backpack will make life easier and i will store layers and extra warmth in its pockets and by the time the lights of christmas wash over the snow, i will be looking forward to snowshoeing in the quiet hush of the trees and i will marvel at all the people out and i will skate on the big ponds and laughter will cut across the ice.

and i will wonder why i ever thought winter felt lonely.