Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ari in the snow

As anyone who knows me well is aware, I hate the winter. I hate driving in the snow, struggling in my tiny tin car to stay afloat, I hate the pervasive cold, the constant grey, the wet, the inability to get warm- the list goes on and on. The decision to stay in Utah instead of go to graduate school in Arizona was only a decision at all because I literally did NOT want to stick it out for another winter here. So, part of my decision to stay here was a bargain with myself to try and figure out a way to like the winter.

I stocked up on winter gear- boots, snowshoes, Yaktrax, a down coat, waterproof socks, long underwear, etc. I found a friend who likes hiking in the winter and doesn't mind me tagging along. As soon as I get health insurance, I am going to go skiing with my crazy skier of a sister. I am also taking St. John's Wort, Vitamin D, and fish oil every day to help stave off the inevitable Seasonal Affective Disorder that usually sets in from too little sunshine. So far, I feel like it's been a great winter and I've enjoyed it as much as I think is possible for a distinctly un-winter person. I will always prefer sunshine, but I have definitely gained an appreciation for snow that I didn't think was possible.

One of the things that has helped me the most has been my walks with Ari, my sweetheart of a pitbull. We have a park across the street from our house and she and I get out as much as I possibly can and go walking around the winding trails in the wilderness area of the park. It's not a crowded place most of the time, especially when the snow is falling.

She's one of those dogs with a sort of athletic grace that makes her beautiful to watch as she bounds through the snow. We throw a ball every little while (because the ball is basically GOD HIMSELF in her book), but mostly we just ramble in silence, through the snow. It's this silence that has given me a deep appreciation for winter. The silence that snow brings is not a new phenomenon to me, but it's accessibility on a daily basis definitely is. It is as if the entire world closes in around you- or rather opens into a vacuum of silence- and all there is in the world in suddenly myself and the dog. It recharges me on such a deep level that I find myself longing for it on days I cannot go.

With three more months of winter left, for the first time in my life, I can actually say that I am happy that everything is exactly the way it is right now. And that is truly a gift.