Winter has been hard the last few years. In NYC, seasons never really impressed me. My windows let in only the weakest sunlight, so there was no hope of growing flowers. In bad weather, I still took the subway to work - worst case, mass transit shut down and nobody went into the office.
Moving to a rural area changed that. Now I drive a good forty minutes to work, and my way home involves crazy highway traffic as well as a long metal grid bridge and twisty-turny hills. All of which become extra treacherous in bad weather. Have I mentioned I drive a twenty-year-old sedan that keeps crying uncle?
But somehow more depressing is the fact that when the outdoors is frozen over in a sheet of white, my garden freezes with it. My fragrant thyme plant becomes a spidery stick; the tulip bulbs are buried and forgotten; even the persistent green of yarrow foliage browns and crumbles. I dream of spring, of crocuses bursting from snow and bleeding hearts dripping from the stem. Chocolate mint releasing its fragrance beside sweet red roses and tomatoes growing swollen on the vine. Snapdragons and dianthus and sweet pea and morning glories and moonflowers and clematis. I am a witch firmly rooted in the earth, and while she sleeps, I become Demeter cold and alone.
So I lock myself in a room. Surround myself with all the color I can gather, and pray my cyclamen blooms until the sun returns.
I baby succulents in fabulous planters, and spray too much perfume into the shadows of my home.
I dye my hair the color of fire and warmth, and my parrot, ahem, I mean my dog, as well.
And I lose myself at my writing desk, in worlds where sunlight drips over golden skin and the promise of eternal day seems almost within grasp. A world where only the monsters slink in darkness and cold, and even they are seeking the light.
This is how I survive the winter.