Maybe "they" were thinking of the dormant trees and dead plants and how everything has the blue-gray sheen of a corpse when they coined the phrase "dead of winter", but I think maybe "they" were in touch with the spirit of the season, which is something along the lines of: BLAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.
Don't get me wrong, I like winter. I like snow. I like crisp, cold air and rosy cheeks and staying inside where it's warm. I like the idea of cuddling (I can't remember if I really enjoy it that much or not, because it's been a long time). I like sledding and Christmas and jingle bells and the smell of fresh cut spruce in my house. But once The Holidays come to a screeching halt on January 2nd, and we go back to school and work as if there was never any fun in the world at all, it's easy to forget the happy parts of winter.
Because winter really is about death. It is the dead zone of the natural year. It is the end of one life cycle and the rest before a new one begins. It is being "dead tired" from all of the holiday traditions and SO MUCH FAMILY. It is the time of "bored to death" cabin fever, "dead broke" after The Holidays and the "death warmed over" look that we're all sporting after we recover from our "deathbed" of seasonal colds and flus. While we're all busy "freezing to death" we are simultaneously commenting on how the weather is "dead wrong" and we're moving to somewhere green and warm and ALIVE. Was it really only a week ago that I was jogging through town in glorious, glistening snowy sunshine, feeling like the world couldn't be more beautiful?
There is very little, in the dead of winter, to remind us that we are alive. Except driving on roadways covered in three inches of freezing rain. Or pellet stoves that decide to quit working in the middle of the night during the coldest week of the season. Or broken pipes, cantankerous hot water heaters, and shoveling snow. Lots and lots and lots of shoveling.
Other than mini-crisis management though, there is nothing in my life during the dead of winter that I can't do later. Some other time, Some other day. When people ask how I am doing, a normally honest response would be "BUSY! SO BUSY!" but right now, I have absolutely no where to be, and absolutely nothing I have to do. The laundry will be there tomorrow, staring at me all. day. long. So will the dirty bathroom. And a myriad of other little projects that I could take on. But I can do it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week. Heck, I don't have any plans until March.
With all of this time on my hands, I have been cooking. I have cooked all of the things. A Full Turkey Dinner with All of the Trimmings. Bulk quantities of shredded southwest chicken breast, black beans, chicken tortilla soup and all of the ingredients for cobb salads, and rice bowls. Exactly 83% of this food will go to waste, even though I took a quart of soup to Neighbor Joe and sent Turkey Dinner to my rehabilitating bestie and her family. There are not enough of us to eat the food that I make in my boredom. I had 5 overripe bananas today that I put in the freezer instead of making into banana bread because I knew it would sit on the counter and mold, like the three oranges, one apple and two onions I just threw away.
So many good intentions swirling around, but kind of like with my intentions to exercise and stuff, I am struggling to find the WHY. Why do I cook? Why do I work out? I am making no difference. Nobody eats the food. Nobody will really care if I lose ten more pounds, or thirty. I am doing just as much good watching 13 episodes straight of Orphan Black, and letting the girls have the macaroni they've been begging for. Why am I fighting it? Seriously. It's the Dead of Winter. The only thing that makes it better is comfort food like BLTs and Macaroni and Cheese and BEER.
There's the trouble right there. I don't have enough beer in my life. Since I started counting calories and all that crap, I have cut way back on my beer consumption, along with other things (like macaroni and cheese) that make life worth living. Is it any wonder that my existence has lost meaning? :) I think that some re-ordering of my priorities might be in order.
Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and it will all make sense - I will feel motivation and purpose again. Maybe I will remember why I want to be in shape, and eat healthy. Maybe I will put on my work out pants and they won't just be an accessory for maximum couch enjoyment. Maybe I will have a beer. Maybe I will remember that it's not just me, it's the Dead of Winter.