I was not born in the winter, but given how much I really, really, dislike summer, I should have been.
There is something about the heat and intensity of the sun that drains my energy almost as soon as the sun crawls fully above the horizon. My eyes hurt, my body moves slowly (doubly so, now that I’m in the middle of an autoimmune flare), and my brain decides that sluggish might be too quick for the current climate. Basically, I am a useless puddle. And it is not simply when I’m outside that this happens. Oh, no. It happens whether I’m in climate controlled buildings or trudging along four or five times a day as my pup is walked around the block (she’s old and does not move swiftly).
I know that loads of people manage the summer just fine. They put on their shorts and their t-shirts and they go out to do exercising or shopping excursions or concerts, providing there is no COVID, of course. Perhaps that is my problem; I don’t wear shorts or t-shirts unless they are pyjamas.
I do not do well with sunlight in general. It always seems to make my health problems worse when I go around with bare shoulders and bare legs. I get rashes and am just generally uncomfortable. So I wear long sleeves, cardigans, long pants, hats, even using parasols when I am not also using my cane. (Have you tried walking a dog with a cane in one hand and a parasol in the other? Yeah, not happening.) And I stay relatively cool, as none of my items are heavy and they are, for the most part, good at repelling those pesky UV rays.
But the brain melting? That is something I cannot fix with a parasol and some ice cream, though I have tried. My thoughts move slowly. Trying to piece together the bigger picture from the invidivual parts is much more of a struggle. I end up getting distracted by, well, nothing, and will find that five minutes have gone by while I’ve stared at the tree outside my window. Of course, then my eyes must readjust to the interior lighting and it’s a mess. I still manage to accomplish tasks during the summer, simply because I must, but it always feels as though something is dragging me down.
Now, fall and winter, on the other hand, are absolutely wonderful. In fall, the air just begins to grow crisp. First, the evenings require a heavier cardigan, and the long sleeves now feel like a wonderful shell against the coolness of the air. The plants will begin to go dormant, which is sad, but they do so in such marvellous style. The trees put on a display of colours like nothing else in the world. The ones that fall roll over the ground with the distinct crackling sound of leaves on the wind. It’s magical.
Then, just as the leaves disappear entirely and the world turns grey, winter arrives. Some years, it does so with a mighty roar, thundering across the land until everything is blanketed in silent white. Some years, it arrives like a whisper, with cold nipping at your fingers and the whiteness of snow appearing overnight as if by magic. The world slumbers, the creatures and plants sleeping until the spring. All except for those things who were made with cold in their bones, with fires in their eyes and the whisper of death in their touch.
Winter beings. Beings of change and of death and of endings. But also of beginnings. They haunt the edges of fires, waiting for unsuspecting people to venture a little too far into the cold. Their stories are told in hushed voices. Their legacy is long enough to make people forget the warmth of summer.
This is the time of year when I feel energised. When, even while wrapped in blankets with a warm cup of tea in my hands, my mind whirls and I feel right with the world.
I love fall and I love winter.
And, above all at this very moment, I am weary of summer.
Alas, time marches on and my seasons will be here before I know it. Until then, I think some iced tea is in order.