I get a little sad that everyone seems to despise winter. Sure, the bitter cold temps seep straight to the bone and the dark evenings contribute to the whole “winter blues” thing, but within the past couple years I have grown more and more attached to my winters and all that is associated with them- hot beverages, cozy blankets, layered outfits, and, well let’s face it, the months that can be spent feeling guilt-free when it’s socially acceptable to spend evening after evening in your jammies (in front of the TV, with a book, hot tea in hand, knitting project in your lap, etc.).
I think I truly discovered myself this past winter, in many ways. It was my first winter out on my own after college and in my own cozy apartment as a real, working adult. There are things I have had to learn, like waking up early enough before work to scrape the snow off my car (because dad wasn’t there to do it!), budgeting my expenses to accommodate the outrageous heating bill (because you just don’t think that heat costs actual money when you’re young), and finding happiness within myself and in my life- apart from what the world enforces.
To be honest, I think it took being out on my own alone to force myself to cultivate myself and my own feelings, rather than on rely others’. There are times when I would cry myself to sleep, unable to bear the loneliness, but I began to surround myself with and doing things that made me happy and whole. Things like knitting, Zen literature, writing and art. And of course, some favorite TV series. J It’s funny how all these interests blossomed at the same time, a perfect harmonious blend that contributed to an overall sense of balance and wholeness in my life.
My friend at work got me back into knitting, which had just been a craft I barely learned as a high school camper at a summer church camp. This past winter she really took off with her knitted creations and I am so thankful she brought me along with her. I found myself knitting again, and making the most beautiful boutique scarves. We even held a class at work where we taught employees how to make their first ruffle scarf. While Tiffany far surpassed me in the number and type of scarves we made over the winter (it was hard finding the time with my multiple jobs!), I began gravitating towards the actual process of knitting- the time spent weaving the yarn back and forth, the repetition of the yarn being looped, passed… back and forth… it became my meditation. A way to clear my mind and focus on the present being created, knitted together right at that very moment.
Like Zen practice, which is simply being tuned into your life at this very moment, stripping it down to the basics, knitting helps me to focus on the present and clear my mind of all but the movement of my fingers, the feel of the yarn, the sound of the needles clinking. It helps me find clarity and simplicity in knowing that my sole purpose on earth is to just be-right here, right now. Everything is perfect how it is.
So, I am going to miss the winter and all the coziness it brought to my first year out on my own. There’s just something about being safely tucked away on the night a winter storm passes, cherishing the time spent creating and reflecting. Here’s to an even more balanced, peaceful springtime and may the lessons of this winter hold fast for many more to come.