Driving Away the Winter in Me

by forumholitorium

Impatient precipitation is falling. Though snow rests on the ground, bushes, and roofs, I see raindrops disturb the puddles that have formed on the patio and hear the plop of drops from the awning, the snow already melting. The flakes were eager to turn to water as the air warmed. My surprise and joy upon opening the blinds is slowly giving way to the anticipation of a wet walk into town and the day’s activities.

At some point in the last two weeks, I turned the corner on winter. Maybe it was the Chinese New Year party I threw to ring in the Year of the Monkey. Six of us sat around together for hours, eating too many noodles and dumplings, drinking ginger tea from TC’s samovar and swapping travelers’ tales from recent journeys to points afar. It was the first time I entertained this year, coming out of my hibernation.

Maybe it was Mardi Gras and the start of Lent. Lent has a twofold purpose. First, it gives me the chance to focus on changing a behavior or two. This Lententide I am not eating any animal products except honey and am forgoing alcohol to see how it makes me feel. I have read a lot about the benefits of eliminating dairy and eggs and want to feel if it makes a difference or not. I eat cheese once or twice a month when going out to eat and whatever dairy makes it into baked goods. But now I am being strict. Second, Lent is a temporal bridge to spring. Trusting Phil the groundhog and my senses, I think spring will be here by the time Easter rolls around. Inspiration struck and made me realize how to use up grey yarn from the German island of Rügen: a winter lap blanket to warm my knees as I read. I knit six rows a day, and at this rate the yarn will be used up and the blanket finished by Easter.

Or maybe it’s simply a question of the light. The days are getting longer; that sudden surge of energy from within has come. I find myself diving into projects that have never quite gotten off the ground, one notable one being improving my Italian language skills. A free online course is providing me the framework I needed in which to get started again. The irregular forms of the passato remoto tense necessary to read Italian books are finally clear, and my vocabulary is growing every day. I dream of spring and summer trips to Italy, of making it through an entire book in Italian. Though there are other projects on the needles, Sunday it became clear what shape a sand colored cardigan with blue details should take, so I cast on. Maybe I will truly see an end to all those skeins of yarn in my stash AND the bottom of my wardrobe in 2016.

For our Chinese New Year’s party, TC and I bought red peppers and a package of hot chilis. Their color is such a welcome jolt this time of year – exactly like the fiery kick chilis add to a dish. Last night I added some to my ultimate comfort food – fried potatoes and onions.

Hope you find a way to drive away the winter in you – spring is on the way!