As we approach the end of my temperate sunny days filled with bare skin and leather sandals, a heavily clad figure approaches- her many skirt ruffles shift and exude a cold bitter wind, and block out the light of day. She brings in the winter, the long nights, the racing to and from buildings to cars to buildings, lest you linger in the frost too long. She barely nods as she passes; I am just one of many people who cower in her presence, and must keep the pieces of myself together while she commandeers the season.
Someone hand me my electric blanket.
This year I am trying to preempt the gloomies that come with winter- I am airing my grievances, shaking the cobwebs off of any lingering emotional questions, and heading into winter armed like Joan of Arc with the banner of God. I'm investing in a light therapy box, I'm training for a 5K with my coworkers to keep my exercise up, and I am moving full steam ahead into Halloween with decorations, elaborate costumes, spooky goodies, and pumpkin soups. I hate the implication that I dislike the fall- I love it. I just have to be prepared for what comes after.
I aired some grievances already this week concerning my need for a plan for the future. I have taken some steps in my life because I thought they were what were expected of me (they weren't), and some because they are what I thought I wanted (some are, some aren't), and others because I thought I needed some stability while I sorted other things out (I did.). And for the time being, what I have going right now is perfect, and just what Dan and I need while we sort out bigger ideas. Nothing drastic needs to happen now. I just need to know that there is more, and that I can get back to the things I have been working on all my life.
The realization I had was that I've been progressing, but I have not been growing. I need the growth. I need the challenge. Trajectory is meaningless without heart backing it up. Once I could sit down and make a plan with my family members (Dan, Jeoffrey, and Trask were obviously consulted) about our future, things felt better. And for it, I am less afraid of the cold dark days to come.
* * * *
I'll add a "Life Through Art" component here: Edward Hopper has long been one of my absolute favorite artists. His use of light as a metaphor might only be matched by Rembrandt, and both of them have a glorious ability to capture the subtleties of the human soul in their work, despite being centuries apart.
Hopper paints a lot of lonely women, which have at various times resonated with me enough to bring me to tears in foreign countries. But the woman here, while alone, is not lonely. The box car takes her somewhere new, a smile on her lips, and the light inside illuminates her papers and keeps away the chilly dusk beyond the glass.