Fall is in full swing here in the midwest. The leaves are on fire if they're still managing to hang onto the branches of the trees. Sweaters, boots and scarves are in full rotation, the patio furniture has been put to bed for the season, and the kiddie pool has been officially drained, folded, and put to rest till next year.
I have already been feeling the affects of the changing weather. It's harder for me to get up in the mornings, I find myself hungry CONSTANTLY, the desire to exercise has screeched to an all time low, and that wine in my fridge has never looked tastier.
It happens every year, this slide into hibernation. The point where my body begins to take over and I have to remain aware, diligent and fighting the urge to nest, but each year it still surprises me. How powerful my body and mind is over my will. How crippling the season changes are to my mental state if I'm not working tirelessly against the pull day in and day out.
Last winter was hard on me. I had knee surgery on Oct 30th, started a new job 11 days later, and bought a house less than 4 weeks into my recovery. When we moved into our house on Thanksgiving I was still struggling so much with the seasonal changes + recovery + the stress of a new job that I would go to bed around 8:30, simply unable to make it a moment longer awake.
Recovery last year was so much harder than I imagined. I remember when we moved into our house I couldn't walk up and down the stairs normally, I had to take them a single stair at a time, bit by bit inching up stairs. Adam worked tirelessly through the winter renovating the entire upstairs of our house while I attempted to help in 45 minute bursts before having to retire to ice my knee. I felt helpless, trapped in my body, and depressed.
When the snow fell day after day after day I was unable to enjoy it. Incapable of walking the dogs around the block, kept from enjoying the one part of winter I truly love. Snowy afternoons with the dogs. By the time I was finally healed enough to partake it was over. A winter of snowy goodness, and all I had to show for it was a single snowshoeing outing. I felt like a failure.
I just want this winter to be over, I moaned from the couch in January.
I know, he said to me. It will be over eventually. It wont be this hard forever.
I didn't believe him.
This winter I will be different. I will be healed, ready, willing. This winter I will snowshoe, skate, walk, ski. I will wake on a weekend morning to fresh snow and I'll head outside. It's how I stayed sane throughout the dark winters of Alaska, and it's my only chance to keep my mood upbeat as I head into my second winter in Chicagoland.
I will find new cross-country trails.
I will snowshoe after a heavy snow storm.
I will ice skate outdoors in a big jacket and a fully scarf, grabbing a drink at a local bar afterwards to warm our frozen feet and fingers.
I will explore the wilds of Wisconsin, the forest preserves trails of Illinois, and I will not fall victim to the Chicagoland collective feelings of ick towards winter.
I feel it creeping in again, but this year I'm going to win.