February 19, 2015

Rituals to Help us See Past the Walls of Winter.


This morning’s “news” from my brother in southern California: “It’s 78 degrees here, and we are in the car heading to Disneyland. We may stay until mid-night!”


Meanwhile here in New England a correspondent from another field files this, “I want to run away. I want someone else to deal with all the ceilings in my house which are ruined because of ice dams. I am a very strong person and can deal with big stuff—I cannot, however, deal with disorder and chaos that seems never ending. I want to surrender. I want to walk away from it and have someone else deal with it all. What flipping God/Goddess must I pray to? I will do it.“

The other extreme.

With 96.9 inches of snow and counting paired with sub-zero temperatures…this winter is testing us. Beyond testing us. And, despite the common assumption, not everyone who resides here in New England fancies skiing! Some of us instead prefer taking dinners out, seeing a film, wearing something on our feet other than boots, taking a walk or visiting a museum—most of which are simply not possible given the limited public transportation, poor road conditions and plummeting mercury of right now.

So a mind-numbing hush of limbo hovers as we cling to memories of last summer and to hopes of April and May. Going through the motions to get to Friday, week after week. “I am a very strong person and can deal with big stuff—I cannot, however, deal with disorder and chaos that seems never-ending.”

So well put by my Facebook friend. This is getting old—unsustainable, some might say.

Yes, we elected to hang our hats here and not in southern California. Most of us did in fact make this choice of zip codes freely. So in some respects we have “cooked our own goose.” Not much we can do about that choice right now. In succumbing to that fact, I find a resting place in the refrain(s) of Jimmy Cliff as he speaks ”of “wearin’ the same old chains,” of “playin’ the game far too long”… of being “trapped.”

For here lies this heaviness, this tenor of suppression that has people of sound mind talking of fleeing and dropping to their knees. Yet if we put our faith in the words of Mr. Cliff, he also knows that “someday he’ll find the key” and that he “won’t walk out the loser.” That triumph of the human spirit, it’s always simmering.

Deep down on some level we too know that despite this season unlike any in our recalling, sooner or later we will turn the page on the calendar and it will read March and then April.

Happens every year.

Yoga. Many varieties of tea brewed frequently with lemon. “Gypsy” by Suzanne Vega and assorted other tracks play delivered through my iPod. Breathing. Patching together a few lines here and there in some notebook. Reading the New Yorker and Sun Magazine from cover to cover. A daily glass or two of some spirit. Pausing. Allowing my 12 pound apricot poodle to distract repeatedly. Making some pictures. Reading poetry. Avoiding the forecast. Breathing. Admiring my 12 pound apricot poodle as he (with zest) barrels out the door into drifts three times his height. Scrabble and Yahtzee and Scrabble. Shoveling while silently pleading with nature for clues. Breathing. Revisiting those pictures. Downton. Girls. Breathing and more yoga…

Escapes, distractions, rituals, remedies…classify them as you like. This winter has found me calling upon the full spectrum—at frequent intervals during each day. Breaking the customary routines and resorting to any and all soul nutrition available.

Productivity counts have been stowed in the back seat for the time being. I personally don’t see another way. This route is my “key.”

It’s how I again and again “teach my eyes to see beyond these walls”… these absolutely suffocating walls of this most earnest winter. So my humble advice to anyone out there facing banks of snow or mountains of other sorts is not so earth shattering. It is simply to take good care… of you. No one more worthy right now.

Take stock of those personal elixirs and drink them up. Claim them and unpack slowly their essence. Treat yourself to more yoga, more books, more tea, more Netflix…whatever it takes. These are not days for the same old routine.

Teach those eyes to see beyond these walls.

Sooner or later we will turn the page on the calendar and it will read March and then April and then summer. Happens every year.


*Lyrics above excerpted from “Trapped” by Jimmy Cliff.



3 Ayurvedic Tips for Staying Happy & Healthy Through Winter.

Author: Susan Currie 

Editor: Renee Picard 

Photo: by Susan Currie 

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