The arrival of winter ushers in certain seasonal preparations for all of us. We scurry into closets, trunks, and storage units to reveal nearly forgotten hats, scarves, gloves, and mittens. Some take bicycles out for one last spin. Others do very practical things like stock the garage with rock salt and a sturdy snow shovel. I do impractical things, like walk around the apartment in my snowboarding helmet (I haven't had a chance to wear it yet; I'm practicing- or insane- depends how you look at it).
Given last winter's foray into the world of shredding powder- or eating it- depends how you look at that too, my ritual of testing out my first helmet at home is a new one. My ritual of digging up specific pieces of literature during various seasons is much older, and probably more socially acceptable . . .
Each year, like clockwork, right around the time that I drag out my sleeping bag with sleeves (translation: long puffy coat), I also retrieve an old college textbook from one of the shelves and revisit a poem that, for me, perfectly suits the season. In it, the narrator recounts watching his baby son sleep, on a cold, quiet winter night, with the snow falling outside. It's called Frost at Midnight, and it's written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Here's the best part:
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the night thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
Sure, it's possible that the above stanza alone prompts the onset of narcolepsy for some. It's okay. My wintry escapes don't have to be yours. However, you should embrace your own rituals and activities to keep you warm and happy this season. Whether it's snowboarding or knitting or wearing the snowboarding helmet while you knit, there are plenty of ways to melt the ice for us all.
What are yours?