This morning I awoke to temperatures of a balmy 51 degrees below zero with the wind chill. It is one of those days to which we in the North are accustomed, and which we sometimes take for granted. It is breathtakingly cold, and breathtakingly beautiful. There is a special kind of stillness to a day like today. The sun sits low in the sky and casts long shadows wherever there is room to do so. The ground is blanketed in blue-white snow, still pristine in the morning, an untouched slate waiting to be marked by the day’s happenings, which, on a day like today, promise to be short-lived and few. The sky is unapologetically blue, unfazed by the cold that is keeping all of us indoors. People bundle up only if they have to, hurrying, hunched over, to their cars and coaxing them into life, fingers crossed and hoping for the best. Even my dog, Frida, who is unstoppable in the outdoors, refuses to stay out there for longer than about 15 seconds. It is cold.
Copying others’ experiments with what happens to water in this kind of cold, I headed outside with my boys, a friend and her son, to experiment for ourselves. It had warmed up a bit at that point (to a cozy minus 41, I believe) and so we really weren’t sure what would happen. The experiment took all of ten seconds, but the image captured by my friend spoke to me on levels more than those scientific. This image is, in some ways, symbolic of how I see the end to this year, and the beginning of the new one. Today, I say goodbye to 2013. To all of the sharp, unpredictable, beautiful moments this past year has held. They happened, they are over, and I am looking forward to seeing what the new year brings.
I realized earlier today that I have not purchased a calendar for 2014. This is something I generally do in advance, and I don’t think it’s without significance that I haven’t done it yet this year. On some level, I realize, I don’t know if I will fill all of those blank months. I guess I will go into every new year with some uncertainty from this point forward. I suppose we, all of us, do.
Negativity and pessimism are enemies of mine right now, and so in the interest of positivity, I am going to force myself to venture out in this cold today, to pick out a calendar with my boys. And I hope to fill it, day by day, with moments of wonder like that experienced today.
From my cozy house to yours, Happy New Year to all of you. May your year be wondrous, and your calendars full.