It’s the – what shall we call them – “Bear Days of January.”
The holidays have faded. Winter stretches out like a highway in Nebraska, running so far and flat that you can see the curvature of the planet in the distance. This year has yet to deliver the unseasonably balmy weather of the last few winters. It is COLD. The sun shines. The sun disappears within pearly grey skies. Either way, every time I look at the temperature it’s sliding somewhere between 19 and 31. The 40s hang back somewhere in the blue shadows of the 5:00 sunset, waiting for a brighter 6:00.
Oh, let’s not complain! Let us breathe in the crystalline air! Let all who were cheated out of a White Christmas do a ‘snow dance,” courting Jack Frost with cute little leggings and fake fur (because PETA said so) earmuffs. Let us wax poetic about the stark landscape, the bare trees (call it: fingers reaching to scratch an itching sky, for God’s sake). Let’s ski and ice skate and snowboard and practice curling (Whoever thought up that Olympic sport was high on somethin’). Let’s watch our breath morph into clouds before our faces, and yell, "Hey! That one looks like a dragon with a cigar!"
Or. We could just hide inside, where the insulation shields us from the wind. We can strike up a fire (umm … where’s the flue again?), throw on a … throw, watch independent films ONDEMAND, and brood about the color green.
I’m liking the second alternative.
Hey. I like making snow angels. As a matter of fact, I like snow so much, I used to run barefoot in it (don’t mention this to my mother. The passage of time has no effect on her outrage). I love the clear air. And, yes, the stark trees and grey-brown landscape do contain a certain rough, quiet beauty. But, I am an impatient hostess for winter, and January brings thoughts of fobbing Jack off on my friends in the Southern Hemisphere. Not to mention, a new year has dropped on top of the last strangely brutal/funny one. We are who we were last year, and we act like it. Our world has not changed. Local, state, national and global issues remain, like an annoying neighbor who just won’t move. And, buying a new calendar in Borders doesn’t change a thang.
Yet. We must really, really want a change. Maybe we want more than one. We made champagne buckets full of resolutions in search of changes of a most personal nature. Sure, we questioned our choices after the New Year’s hangover wore off. All that stuff about exercising more, eating less, saving more, bitching less, loving more, fearing less, traveling more, writing more, embracing more is daunting. And, all those promises we made to ourselves (or, mumbled about, for those of us who feared to step beyond the construction phase) may be a distant memory by May. Still, we made them. We took the step, if only in our heads. We made them, because we recognize the need to move forward.
We want to go … somewhere. We talk of incremental changes, but really we want to streak across the sky like a star, or (at least) a shuttle. We want to move, just to see who we are somewhere else. We want to fly to see if we will break the stratosphere, or get burned like Icarus, ignorant and far beyond our means. We want to try, and hope we have the fortitude to keep trying when no one else is looking or listening, or helping or caring. We want to move, because moving is life, and stillness is lassitude (just another word for death). We want to live, and dance and love and fuck and feel. We want to be, and have meaning in the being.
So, like sharks, like winter winds, like stars, like tentative lovers on the dance floor, we find some way to keep moving, driving across that stark, winter Nebraskan landscape toward the very curve of the world, in search of treasure (in all its many forms). In search of whatever’s out there.
“Hey, where ya going?”
“Why? You wanna come with?”