Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Bears And I

I don't do winter well. Even though technically winter does not begin for another month or so, once we push the clocks back and it begins to get darker earlier, and colder outside, it is already winter for me, and I tend to hibernate, both physically and spiritually.

Already, I can feel it beginning - I grow more reflective and wistful and internal, instinctively grab for sweaters, think of how cold it is before venturing outside, stay a little longer under the covers. The music I listen to is more mellow, the books I read carry greater weight and depth, or at least have more resonance for me.

There are many wonderful things I associate with this time of year: watching snow fall from the comfort of a window, the perfect time to listen to the beautiful Tori Amos song Winter, the lights of chanukah, hot drinks as they go down your throat, more night - for those of us creative types who do our best work after dark, watching how excited kids are to play in the snow, hearty soups; it is a very good time for a visit to California...

And an image: Rav Dovidl of Diniv, the son of the Bnei Yissachar, said that once Elul began, tzadikim would look up at the night sky and see a hand in the stars. Each day, the hand would lower and unfurl its fingers a little more - until Chanukah, when it would close its fingers and return to the sky and invisibility. The hand was of course the hand of HaShem, giving a little extra help and encouragement to those of us who would not have made it into the Book of Life on our own merits. (Many chassidim believe we have until Chanukah to do teshuva for the past year). A very comforting image.

And yet....winter isn't my season. I'm all for reflection, and drawing inward at certain times, but mostly I find winter a time of barrenness and loneliness even within a crowd, of searching for warmth and light (thank God for Chanukah), storing up hope, watching footprints - literally and figuratively - that you've made in the snow, building up, fortifying to burst forth in life, in Spring...

I could use the hand. so I'd like to think the Chassidim have it right.

13 comments:

oishkapipik said...

I have such memories of winter and Thanksgiving growing up. It was kind of strange but every year to the day it seemed, the first snow would fall on the Tehachapi mountains. I loved watching the snow fall from within the warm house with the smell of the turkey cooking.

I can totally relate to you with regards to the feelings you get from winter. Its another world you enter into for a certain period of time.

Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear A Whispering Soul,

You have written here some lovely words, indeed-especially the part about grabbing for sweaters and doing our best work after dark ... just has a certain coziness about it. I am ...

Very Sincerely yours,

Alan D. Busch

Jack's Shack said...

One of the reasons I live in LA is I don't like Winter.

Pragmatician said...

I hate and despise winter, I'm dreaming of moving to LA not for the stars(who cares they probably make lousy neighbors) but for the miraculous stable weather they have there.
And yet winter is the domineering season here sucking up most of the spring with it.
So gloves, scarf, double pair of socks and a foul mood it is.

Tamara said...

I'm a native Californian (yes there are still 3 or 4 of us around). I grew up in the "valley", lived in San Diego for 10 years where the weather is quite possibly the best, or close to it, in the world, and now again I'm in LA...and I have to say that I WISH we had a winter. There's nothing like being chilly, snuggling up to someone special, or under your blankets, pulling out warm cozy scarves, sipping hot chocolate and not needing to add ice because it's too hot outside for hot chocolate. I don't know, I think those of us who live in warm climates are robbed of the seasons. What I wouldn't give to see a real fall ( I still have not seen one), to have snow in the winter, warm rains in the spring...but no...here...it's a cool summer year round. I guess the grass is always greener...

Jack's Shack said...

Tamara,

Howdy to another Valley native.

BrownsvilleGirl said...

I was just recently thinking about how the freezing cold is my favorite weather type. But then I remembered that I really love sweltering sweat-inducing heat. So I think that I just love seasons as they are. Which could be, because I also change my diet freakishly much with seasonal changes.

But when it snows, and you can't see anything but stunning whiteness, you will love the winter. :) Or your money back...

MC Aryeh said...

Oishkapipik - I never think of snow and California together - I had to look up the Tehachapi mountains! Sounds like some wonderful memories for you...

Alan - Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. Winter brings out the cozy in me, I guess...

Jack - I hear ya. I don't think I would complain if every day had temps in the the 70s - but I think I would miss the other seasons...

Prag - Where is this place of constant winter in which you live? Stars as lousy neghbors made me laugh...

Tamara - All the Californians I know were either once New Yorkers themselves or are the children of New Yorkers. Thanks for offering a different take. I am with you on how nice it is to have seasons. And I very much enjoy all the things you mentioned associated with winter - winter is wonderful from an indoors perspective!

BVG - Few things are as beautiful as a field of winter white - especially from the vantage point of a big bay window....how long does that money back guarantee last for?

Stacey said...

I have lived in both climates and I although I have come to love the heat, there is something to be said for 4 seasons. The 4 seasons parallel the cycle of life and it is weird living in a climate devoid of that.

I miss it

Elster said...

I hate winter. It is cold, the beautiful snow turn black and ugly within hours after hitting the ground, it is flu season, I have pnuemonia, the sun doesnt shine, the world is grey and drab, daylight is spare (THIs creative person works better in the morning), you can't go outside, you have to wear cumbersome sweaters, your feet get wet from meleted snow...need I continue?

Jeru Guru said...

Hi McAryeh,

You have some Scottish blood in you?

I love your blog :)

JG

MC Aryeh said...

Stacey - I am all for four seasons. I'd just like to extend Spring, Summer and Fall, and have Winter last about 3 weeks at most...

Elster - No need to continue. I am depressed enough at this point after reading your comment.

Jeru Guru- No Irish blood that I know of (it's MCAryeh, not McAryeh), though being a redhead, I have often been mistaken for Irish. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments about my blog.

tafka PP said...

I love that Tori song! Maybe I'm not as musically backward as I thought having just got 1/10 above!