Saturday, February 21, 2015

We are all snowmen


I can't not write about this, the endless feet and sheets of deep freeze and snow. It's permeating our thoughts, our skin, our hair, our roofs. And it's subtly seeping into who we are, drip drip drip, ice damns forming under our skin. We respond to the coldness, the sog and ice of this corner of the world that is our world, in our own desperate ways.

Some people are just angrier, about most everything. I see this at the grocery store mostly, in the parking lot and the checkout line. I laugh a little when I see people losing their minds about grocery carts or other people in their way, until they lose their minds at me, and then it's less funny (but still funny).

Other people are teetering on the edge of hysteria, not at all in the funny sense, but in the completely distraught and hanging on by a thread sense. We commonly call it "stir crazy" and "cabin fever" but in some cases, it actually means, "There is a tornado around me that keeps squeezing me tighter and tighter. I can't force it away because the tornado is actually my own brain. I am literally being swallowed up by my own head." No big deal, just actual human implosions happening all throughout homes in New England.

Then, on a much lighter note, there are the people who have rapidly soared to the deserved level of snow superheroes in these past few weeks. These super snow saviors have appeared, more than once, in our driveway, out of nowhere, and scooped layers of our stone cold, fluffy white misery away. With one foggy exchange of glances, they say, "Oh, you got six feet of snow spread across your entire driveway... ? Step aside, sister. I got this here bobcat and I'll take your sorrows away in five minutes" (and in exchange, sir, I will offer you a kneeling bow in praise). As with all superheroes, they are unrecognizable in their superhero gear. I may or may not know them in everyday life (and I never will know if I do).  In the half-hallucinating daydreams I have these days, these snow heroes just materialize with a blinding glow out of a mountain of snow. They roar a victorious roar and float over to me, a dash of color in all the grey of this world. They grab my shovel, break it over their knee, and any snow in a 4 ft radius evaporates under their presence. My fantasies these days are about snow removal. And I feel pretty confident I'm not alone in that.

But fantasies are just that and you can't function on fantasies alone... or really at all. And I don't... but then, I don't feel like I am fully functioning these days. And that is my response to the mounds of snow sucking us inward. I can't really... function. I am a little depleted. I think we all are. I wrote down seven pretty manageable goals at the beginning of this year and am falling short on every one of them. To clarify, I am dramatically falling short on every one of them. Exercise THREE times a week (not five, not six, not four). Get the kids outside every day (but fuck, it's so fucking cold!). No computer two nights a week (but then what would I doooo? Something productive? Read? Write? Be thoughtful? HA! No, instead, I will just sink deeper down into my couch).

And I DO blame the weather (and I do blame myself). I cannot find that energy that generally carries me through days and I am having trouble connecting that line between idea and action. I am dulled down in so many ways, duller even than usual. Normally I make lists for the day... but these days, what happens is, I have the idea to make a list and then I lose the idea... and then I make no list. I had about 49 snow days straight to make the most beautiful, frilly, colorful, stamped and sparkly Valentines with my kids. But we managed to only get one done before the actual day itself. (It was from Grace and it was to: "Elsa and Santa and Anna and Kristoff and NOT Hans".) And this blog post, inspired only by my own desperation to reconnect with myself, and with you, with my head, to bring meaning to all this, and to hopefully diminish the role I've convinced myself the weather has been playing in my life.

We've become little moving snowmen, each one of us, walking around at a normal pace for a snowman, but much more of a crawling pace for our people-selves. We're just sort of standing here with a pipe in our frozen mouths and lifeless eyes of coal (I'm not being dramatic at all). We're pale as snow and rounder than we usually are (we have to store our fat and our weather-induced depression somewhere). Sometimes our heads even roll off our bodies and, God willing, we have somebody willing to pack it back into a nicely formed head and plop it back on our necks. We do have moments each day, bursts of our old, pre-snow energy, where we put on our magic hats and dance around a little bit and scream things like "Happy Birthday!" and we feel great - and then the wind takes our hat away and we are frozen still again. Luckily, the sun, which will come out again (I am almost positive about this), will melt away a vast majority of these problems of ours.

And I guess that's the thing we need to keep in mind. Most of these problems will melt away. Things are really bad around here right now, but we're going to recover from it, I'm sure of that. We are not dealing with Ebola. This is not Ebola. We are not terrified to touch another human being, to hug them tightly or hold their hand or wipe tears away or clean up boo-boos on the neighborhood children who we've welcomed into our homes for a change of space. And we are not isolated inside our homes because we fear for our lives if we go outside. We don't have all the resources we need right now, but we have enough, in most cases, to get through this. Things are not great, but it's probably pretty easy to find some perspective, depending on who you are and what you care about. We are imploding... but I'm also exaggerating. We have turned to ice, but we're going to thaw out here, fellow snowmen. Soon enough (Spring begins in exactly one month), our extra pounds of winter sorrow will melt into the mud puddles of the season of hope.