So Dallas got hit with winter this week. Now, those of you from more … how shall I put this? More varied or robust climes might garner some amusement at what we here in the Dallas area call “winter,” where iced-over bridges or a couple of inches of snow literally shut the city down. (In our defense, the Metroplex–which sounds like something from which you would want to escape in a dystopian sci fi novel–has a lot of bridges, and it takes you at least twenty minutes to drive anywhere when conditions are clear. So if the roads are packed with people who, in the words of a friend, “Have to Google ‘how to drive in icy conditions’,” fuggeddaboudit.) We’ve had a mild winter up till now, because Winter in this area is a slacker who is content to hang out in a t-shirt and board shorts most of the time, and just now looked at his calendar and noticed, “Oh, holy crap, dude, February’s almost over! Better give ’em some winter!”
That same friend who made the Google remark also noted, over some delicious hot cocoa, that no matter where you live or what you are supposed to be doing, there’s something about February that makes us humans want to curl up inside (with a cup of hot cocoa!) and do low-key, not-get-much-work-done sorts of activities. Knit. Stare at the fire. Mend things. Oh, our modern world wants us to get out there and get stuff done, but the weather and our natures resist it.
I wonder if it is some essential quality of February, or of us–or both? At least in the Christian world, February means Lent, and Lent means waiting for Easter, waiting for the Resurrection, just as in the natural world it means the tail end of Winter, which means waiting for Spring. I wonder if this time of year is just naturally a fallow time, a waiting time, and trying to resist the waiting-ness of it is a fruitless (ha! literally, because it is winter) proposition, if maybe it’s on purpose that now is a quiet time, a dig in deep and rest time, and if so, what does that mean in a practical way for our lives?
For myself, I know that the requirements of modern life and the requirements of inner life seem all too often to be in conflict–and does it look that way because it is, Polemarchus? I have more or less unplugged myself from online interactions this Lent, and now with the snow outside my window I want only to finish my novel (only one and a half chapters to go!*), snuggle with my loved ones, and wait for spring.
*For certain values of “one and a half”. And “only,” for that matter, at my usual rate of slow.**
**And after I finished typing this post, I realized I had hit one of those “need to slow down and figure out what’s next” points in the story, which usually means letting it sit for a day or thirty. So I guess now really is one of those fallow times.