In winter my childlike innocence twinkles in my eyes and engages my smiles. From dancing in the snowflakes after midnight, to sipping hot apple cider by the roaring fire, my cozy, warmth to every cold winter night is always but a “memory to make” away. But as the new to the New Year fades, the decorations come down and the holiday carols cease, the dreary existence of bitter cold is all that is left. The reality of life takes control away from the fantasy of the winter wonder land …
There is a fragment of time in my life that is frozen, just like the winter tundra. It’s protected from the elements, yet easily reachable … I just close my eyes and instantly transport to that era. When I do, I am no longer chilled from crisp air – instead I am laying on a riverbank, soaking up the rays of light into my already sundrenched skin. I smell coconut tanning oil … ahhh, how I love that smell. I hear the splashing of the Meramec River – curse words from the fishermen when one caught a bigger bass than the other – kids running … laughing … discovering. I remember skipping rocks, sipping what I am pretty sure was margaritas, and running barefoot screaming as I was soon to cool my sun kissed skin by entering the river, on a choice not of my own … That was the start to the summer I turned 16. A weekend camping trip that I was reluctant to go on turned out to be one of my fondest memories. It was a summer that I laughed; really truly, irrevocably, unimaginably, incandescently and blissfully laughed … it was the summer I fell in love.
When the cold moments of our lives take a hold of us, what do we do to warm ourselves? For me it’s the rhythm of music, as I dance on the kitchen floor, the glass (or three) of St. James Velvet Red, that Hot Carmel Apple Spice from the glory we know as Starbucks, an evening in nothing but cotton, watching the collaboration of a month’s worth of DVR, an afternoon drive of reflection of where I have been, and where I am heading, and when I least expect it, warmth is found in the evoking of reminiscence souvenirs from a summer many years ago … I often wonder at what point in my life will that memory be so distant that I won’t remember the sounds of crickets chirping in the milieu? Or the feel of sunshine through the trees on an afternoon stroll … Or the campfire (and beer!) that produced music, dancing, and the most incredible smores. Or the feeling of my first love holding my hand, that car ride home, as we felt untouchable … the sound of Outcast playing and my hand riding the wind as I placed it outside the window down Hwy 44 ….
I don’t want to be fixated on a fragment of time that no longer exists in reality. But the memory presents itself like a torrid love affair of the past; it’s a piece of a moment that keeps me frozen like the winter air does now, yet it’s a source of warmth and comfort in the days that need additional wood to maintain, and at times create, a roaring fire. A truly beautiful aspect of life – the power of the mind. We are able to hold tight to the moments that define who we are now; moments that shaped our future, changed our courses, gave us hope, and strength, courage, and love... moments that will forever continue to add to our lives. To warm our winter nights. To toast us as we seek out more moments of such a time that continues to give. Your first love never fades, and that summer has long since past, but it played an intricate role in that in which I am today. I look forward to building more moments that have such definition to them; such rays of light that can thaw out even the coldest of moments. Light the darkest of days. Behind each cloud, the sun’s rays are still there – shining. Its science. And it will never fail.
Today I rolled down my window, 20 degrees outside or not, and my hand rode the wind .... not a trace of cold was felt, only the warmth of a memory that reminded me to let my soul shine ... its better than sunshine melting the snow away ... In your “days of cold” seek out your moments of warmth and let them thaw your snowy pathway. Allow them to bundle you with a scarf of fortification, gloves of bliss, a hat of ponder, and a coat of memories … instances … places in time … without fail moments that will thaw you with laughter; truly, irrevocable, unimaginable, incandescent and blissful laughter.