As I trudged my way through yet another snow-mangled parking lot, my mind felt as numb as my face buried in a scarf to avoid the biting wind. Cars parked without symmetry, merely plunged into gaps between snow piles, created a maze in the frozen slush. Other cars wound slowly around the greying, aging snow mounds dotting the barren landscape. Snow plows, miniatured by the massive snow mounds, moved at a frantic pace, their blinking orange warning lights begging to be noticed.
The long bitter winter of 2015 is taking its toll on our psyche. We are no longer individuals. We are masses of humanity, shrouded in parkas, moving numbly through daily life, striving simply to survive. Winter is like that, sometimes. For born-and-bred northerners like myself, we take a little pride in the hardy nature with which we face winter, laughing in the face of lake effect snow and yawning at the occasional blizzard. But then there are those winters that stand out, marked by extremes – extreme cold, extreme snowfalls, extreme ice. These winters wear us down, whether we like to admit it or not. This year is one of those winters.
Kicking the slush off my boots as I came into the house, I realized the winter I was fighting outside was a microcosm of the winter I am fighting inside myself. The physical hibernation brought on by frigid temperatures has spread into a hibernation of the mind. My ambition appears buried in a pile of frozen mental slush, my creativity plowed under by the mind-numbing tasks of simply re-stocking food supplies between snowstorms and keeping the porch woodpile prepared for the fireplace. I wake up every day hoping to write, to create something from nothing, to challenge myself. But my creative juices are frozen along with the rest of my world, waiting for a spring warmth to arrive and bring with it a renewed sense of life, of energy, of creativity, of beauty.
A wise man once said, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecc. 3:1-4) In this season of the winter of my mind, I must remember, it is just that – a season. Soon will come the return of new life, a renaissance of the beauty of spring, of hope. Soon this brutal winter of 2015 will be but a memory, and this winter of my mind will seem but a faded dream. Spring can’t come fast enough.