The sky is cloudy but bright. It is only 31˚, but the next three days will be warm. The prediction is for 48˚ each day. That’s almost tanning weather, no sunscreen necessary. Maybe a road trip is in order to take advantage of the warmth. I’ll open my car window and take in the sweet smell of the clean air.
Since the Winter solstice, we have gained an hour of sunlight. It makes me hopeful that winter’s end is not so far away. February, though, is sometimes the snowiest month. I’ll just keep my knit hat and mittens handy.
In summer, the trees surrounding my deck are lit with candles hanging off the branches. In the backyard, solar lights shaped like flowers glow and a few strands of white lights are twisted around Tree trunks. I always think my yard a fairyland, especially in July when the fireflies return and twinkle among the trees. Now, in the bleak winter, the one strand of lights around the deck fence has stopped shining. I need to replace it. I always love looking out the back window and seeing those lights.
I always think it is the darkness of winter which palls the spirit so I do my best to compensate. I keep white candles lit in the front windows, and their light shines across the dark lawn. This year I left my Christmas lights lit in the front. One is a giant star with a trail of lights. The others are multicolored. My neighbor across the street has called to thank me for leaving the lights shining. She said she loves looking out the window at my house.
Winter is my time of memories, of introspection. I don’t add much to my story, but I recall to mind the best parts. I smile a lot at the images in my mind’s eye. My journeys, my explorations, are the brightest memories.
During my travels, I learned a few things. I hate washing clothes by hand. I decided that for any trip of great length I’d pack ragtag underwear which I can just throw away. It isn’t a big deal for me to find any. I can just check my bureau drawer. The rest of my clothes can get so grungy they can walk away by themselves. I won’t care. I’m not washing them. I learned never to ask what I’m eating. Many of the traditional foods are pets here, like the guinea pig in Ecuador. I think I can eat just about anything as long as I don’t know what it is and it isn’t slimy. Bras are a great place for hiding money. I had my pocket picked when I was at a train station in Ghana. I’d like that thief to try it now. Toilet Paper, always carry toilet paper. Sometimes you get stuck and have to rush, and those hole in the ground toilets don’t have toilet paper. Just imagine. The middle of the bus and a seat near the window are usually the best. The aisle fills with standing people who hold on for dear life as the bus goes around corners but sometimes they fall, into the aisle seats. The front and the back of the bus are where people sit with their chickens or goats. Eat where there is a line, especially street food. Don’t shy away. It’s sometimes the best and is usually the cheapest. If everything pales compared to home, just stay home.