Winter’s Secret

My neighborhood

A couple weeks ago it was 8 degrees when I set out for my walk with the dog. My family and I had just been skiing for a couple days, so I had pretty much become one with my ski pants and coat. It was a nice walk and I didn’t even notice that the temperature had a dropped a few degrees in the meantime. Same thing the next day, when we set out at zero degrees, although we did two short walks so Molly had time to defrost her paws and pick out the snowballs between her toes.

Then I really got into a writing project I’ve been trying to complete for some months. Let’s just say I didn’t step outside for a couple days. Part of the reason I did so well was no doubt those wintry walks. But then I got on a roll at the computer. So for two and half days I stayed in a chair.

What a difference a healthy habit makes. Three days later the temp was around 25 degrees and windy. Granted I wasn’t bundled up like before, but my tolerance was wimp-like at best. Moral of the story? Stay fit, my friends, and keep up your good habits.

But can I say this about that: What the hell? It seems like to make headway in one area of my life I have to lose ground in another. On the days when I do it all—exercise, write, clean, cook, work—I feel balanced but all I do is tread water. I don’t make any real headway in any one direction. Am I the only one who goes through this? It seems that in order to move ahead in one area of my life, I have to hit the gas and bear down on it like an escaped convict gunning for the border, racing past all other duties or projects, until I cross the finish line.

Maybe I have ADD and can only progress when I’m totally immersed in something. Maybe I have a feeble mind and am easily distracted by shiny objects. (Ok, the part about the shiny objects is definitely true, but come on!) Or maybe it’s just my creative groove, simply how I roll.

I have to admit, I hate being interrupted when I’m working on something. If a friend calls me when I’m really absorbed in writing, I answer the phone in such a voice that the first thing they ask is “Are you okay?!” Evidently I sound like I’m grieving. In a way I am grieving…that elusive thought that just turned to vapor when the phone rang! I like to think I’m quite attentive to my muse, but maybe I’m just getting too old to sustain a thought. Oy!

It could be that winter is no time for balance. If “to everything there is a season,” balance is probably better suited for summer, when the days are longer and you have a wider playing field. Instead winter is better for introspection, a good time to go deep within…your mind, your home or bed covers, or even a good book. Face it, winter is the best time to clean out closets—why waste daylight and warm weather on that chore? When the elements are harsher, it’s like nature is warning us not to venture out too far.

So maybe I just need to keep working in streaks and let the finished products pile up beside the undone and quit worrying about it.

Hmmmm, I’ll have to think about that tomorrow when I’m out for my walk.

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