I choose to live in the midwest because I love the change in seasons. Although, when summer gets here, I question why I deal with the cold every year. I bake in the sun, lounging in my turquoise beach chair, eating a flavor ice, proclaiming, “This is the life! I never want to be cold again! Give me 100 degree weather and absolute humidity…I’m in heaven!”
Inevitably though, I hit a point towards the end of summer where I am OVER it. I’m over the heat and humidity. The wasps, flies, and mosquitoes. My feet. Yes. My feet. I get extremely tired of looking at my feet in sandals (nothing super gross about my feet, I just get seriously tired of seeing them). I yearn to hide in my sweaters, adorn my legs with my polka dot socks and beloved boots. I want to drink hot coffee again without sweating, and go to bed at 8PM without feeling guilty that it’s still light outside.
Today is a perfect fall day. It’s gloomy and chilly. The leaves are starting to change color, life draining out of each leaf, preparing to abandon their branches for the winter. Melancholy lingers in the air, the grey clouds muffling the sounds of the wind, birds, and traffic. Envious of hibernating bears, I hope to escape the looming depression that winter brings.
Although hoping to escape it, a part of me looks forward to embracing the sadness and reflection that fall and winter bring. No one wants to be sad in the summer or reflect on anything too serious. Because it’s summer. I feel like fall and winter are the time of year where if I want to be sad, or more inside my head, it’s a little more acceptable because it’s cold and dreary. If I lived on an island somewhere, I’d probably have to be happy 24/7 based solely on the weather, and that sounds sort of exhausting.
If you really want to fit the mold of a tortured artist, what comes to mind? Not Van Gogh sitting on the beach in his wild, flowered bermuda shorts. No. You see him bundled up in a scarf and hat, wandering the streets, sloshing through dirty snow. Sad and tormented, about to cut off his ear.
So when stormy days turn to snowy nights and rain, like old tears, hardens and turns to ice, I feel free to be more introspective. To think about how fast time is slipping away. To contemplate life, sitting in a dark room with the fireplace on, bundled up in my softest cardigan. I look forward to it. I’ve missed having the permission to be slightly sad and contemplative. To be a little tortured and dramatic.
Every now and then I have been known to mumble “I hate everything”. I don’t really mean it. When I say this, it usually means that I hate when I can’t figure out a problem. I hate that I can’t fix everything. I hate that I don’t always get to choose how I spend my time and with whom I spend it. Sometimes I love too much and the complications that come with that make me feel like saying I hate everything. Everything representing whatever I am powerless to control. Fall and winter give me time to reflect on what I can’t control, mourn that I am powerless. The beauty is that just when you think you can’t take one day more of that sadness, the buds appear on the trees, the green grass peeks through, the robins chirp. You start coming back to life with each warmer day.
You shed the sweaters and boots, drink iced coffee again and forget the troubles of the world around you. Sometimes we are the darkness inside the old lighthouse, observing and keeping guard. And sometimes we are the light outside, brightening everything in our path, lighting the way for others. It’s all about how you balance the two. I believe both are equally important, and together they create the complex person you are. So I will reflect through fall and trudge into winter, and be excited that I will come back out in spring feeling ready to face what is in my control and put behind me all that I can’t. Until it’s time to reflect and mourn again.