For weeks and weeks, the southwest Missouri winter had been bitterly cold. And I was bundled up in layers upon layers of clothing, my psyche buried somewhere underneath the scarves and gloves and coats snow boots, my face set against the wind in an attempt to brave the bitter chill and to retain the feeling in my extremities.
I’d grown used to the cold. I didn’t like it, but I was used to it, the way everything was drab and grey and numb, the way I hid from going outside in to keep from dealing with the chill.
And then, last week, the weather started to turn. The air was still chilled, but not so much that it bit into my skin and left me shivering. I began to shed my winter layers and started braving the outdoors a little more. I started noticing the sunshine and walking with my head a little higher. I could feel again.
Now as winter would have it, temperatures are supposed to start dropping again in the next couple of days. But the moments when it warms back up are the ones that remind me that spring is coming, and for the time being, that’s enough.
I called up a friend the other day to talk about life, to swap stories about future plans and present joys and frustration. I told her about the bits and pieces of life I’m starting to look forward to, the people and places and things that make my days interesting.
I’m happy for you, she says, I can hear it in your voice; you sound different.
You sound hopeful.
And after the conversation ends, I think about her words. I think about how for the last few weeks, my thinking has been a little clearer, my eyes open a little wider, my mood a little lighter. I think about how I’m starting to find the words I’ve wanted to say for so long but that had eluded me for months. I think about how the clouds that have been obscuring my vision have pulled back enough for me to start dreaming a little bigger again.
And I think that maybe, my friend is right.