Today, after twenty-four hours of lightly falling snow, shoveling, freezing, shoveling and freezing some more, it is clear that winter is upon us. I won't mention the deep freeze we are promised for later this week and the predicted weekend snowstorm.
So many writers have celebrated winter, and on the written page - in poetry, essay, short story or novel - the whole concept of snow, hot chocolate and warm fires can't be beat. For many winters in a row, I dug out my battered copy of LaVyrle Spencer's lusty novel, Bittersweet, just to read the passage about the endless Door County snowstorm. Berner has chosen winter pieces somewhat more literary beginning with the late days of fall and Halloween to Groundhog and Valentine's Day. Edgar Allan Poe and Italo Calvino gave us pieces to help fill the hours during these cold, cold months.
Just paging through made me feel more positive about the months that generally seem so dark and dreary. The author includes information about Diwali, Kwanzaa and Dia de lo Reyes and tosses in some fine recipes so I can ring in Chinese New Year with a full out banquet!
The holidays bring in our once a year shoppers, visits from former students, and friends who have moved away but are back to visit family. Inevitably, one or more of these drop-bys will ask "How much longer do you plan to do this?" In fact, a former student who just changed jobs after 30 years (come on, I'm not as old as that makes me sound. He started at his former place of employment when he was 16) asked me that very question. (No comments about the disruptive parenthetical, please).
Truthfully, I have not set a date, nor have I given the matter serious thought. When I do think about "retiring" I can only imagine my life as a full time couch potato, and while that might be good for a day or two, I know that I still get antsy when I have more than two days off in a row. This time of year does stir up some regrets, however. Watching that nice Pioneer Woman on the Cooking Channel baking cookies for all her friends and neighbors makes me sad that I don't have the time for those little kindnesses. Instead, I fill my shopping cart wherever I go with hand warmers for the mail carriers, UPS and FedEx drivers. Apparently, this year my lack of cookie baking time guilt has escalated; I have about 100 packs of hand warmers to distribute. Regret #2 is that, even though I am comfortable, fortunate in many, many ways, and have more than what I need in life, my cash flow isn't as predictable as it was when I was teaching and so I can't always contribute and much, as readily or to as many charities as I would like. I try to pay to forward often, and share those hand warmers with the bell ringers. But, in the big picture, those aren't big regrets and for that I am grateful.
I plan to be closed December 25, 26 and 27. Good cookie baking days, I suppose.
Thanks for stopping by.