Chicago Winter Blues

Propped up by pillows on my bed, I stare out our attic window and into the brown and gray abyss of a Chicago winter.

The branches are stiff and lifeless. Once in a while an icy wind blows through and they bow in respect. I can only imagine they want curl back and snake those long arms of theirs around their thick trunk. Wrapped up tight in their own branches, maybe Mother Nature would see them shivering and get the hint to ease up on the cold.

It’s been a lesson in humility. I thought being born and raised in the Midwest prepped you for such a bleak winter. What it did do was prep me to drive in all this mess.   If I’m looking for a little confidence boost, I just have to consider my winter driving skills. Pretty badass in that category if I do say so myself.

But this winter is the one that will never end. Every single morning we look at the weather and tell each other, it’s gonna be a cold one today. Every day. Trying to find some hope, we look at the extended forecast that is always mixed with numbers never going about 30. It’s dotted with freezing rain, snow and sleet. I’m pretty sure the weather folks are just copying and pasting all this nonsense week after week.

What I want to do is hide away and thankfully life simply doesn’t allow it. The one thing that keeps me sane in parenting teenagers requires my presence in this winter ridiculousness. When I want to go for a run I check the weather to see how many wool shirts to wear. Do I wear the sub zero running tights or can I get away with the mid zero ones today? Should I do my part in killing the environment with the shake awake hand warmers that are essential for moving fingers or will my heavy duty mittens do the trick? Hat and balaclava?  Extra buff for the face? (Which will undoubtedly freeze after a few miles with a dripping nose and warm breath.)   Yak tracks on my shoes for snow or screw shoes for ice?    Should you still be hurdling snow drifts in March? There’s no hiding if you want your miles.   Only a few tears and a lot of swearing. Also there’s no hiding when your “Spring” marathon is 8 weeks away.

I’ve only fallen twice, maybe I should celebrate that.   Would that qualify me to be a positive person?  My therapist mentioned it may be helpful to try that…

Oh also! Never ever neglect to clear your walks, even if it’s for the 15th time that week. DO NOT STRIKE IN PROTEST. I’m telling you from experience, it will only hurt you. Ask my kids who have had to navigate the 3 foot long ice patch they travel over as they come and go from school multiple times a day.  It’s treacherous.  The mini skating arena has been there for a month because I stayed inside one evening  hoping the slush would go away.   How was I supposed to know it would never melt?

Looking out my window, I know it won’t last. My head tells me this though my heart is highly doubtful right now.  I’ve lived with seasons my whole life.  I know how this works.   But you must know what I mean, right?  You know how it feels, during those seemingly endless times of cold or maybe it’s sadness.  You must constantly remind yourself.   This too shall pass.


Waiting for the Crocuses

Snowy day at the Arboretum

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