the endless winter

Northeast Ohio is not the best place for someone to live who hates the cold, hates precipitation of pretty much any kind, and hates gray skies. But I was born in Ohio, and somehow am tied to it in many more ways than the fact that my Mother loves it here, and makes her home in Lakewood. It’s hard to quit you, Ohio, but these endless cold Winter days, when it’s really supposed to feel like early Spring, are very hard for us all to take.

Everyone has been bitching about it, I know. I’ve tried to work on daily thankfulness for what I have, but the cold makes my arthritis worse, my mood dark and my energy level practically non-existent. Combine that with a crushing level of work at my day job, and it’s hard to slog on day after day after day. The freezing cold walk to my building when it’s barely light out, the freezing cold walk back when it’s overcast and there’s hardly any sun. I’ve tried to keep up with my self-designed plan of physical therapy to continue to rehabilitate my knees and lower legs in hopes I can get back to running this year, but I’m barely making it two days a week. It’s better than nothing, I know. I’d really like to just bundle up and go for a walk sometimes but I hate the cold so, so much, I can’t stand being out in it for long. And my plantar fasciitis is still very bad. My gym is a 20-plus minute drive away through a minefield of a road that I’ve sworn not to drive on again until I’m certain they’ve fixed most of the potholes, as I almost lost my car and came out in China the last time I went that route.

I’ve tried to call to mind of the physically hottest points of my life, in hopes it will warm my soul. I was thinking about a particular day when I worked at Blossom, an outdoor concert facility where I worked as a security guard for five years. It was the middle of August, and there were concerts back-to-back almost every weeknight this particular week. The rock concerts are typically held there during the week – the Cleveland Orchestra owns Blossom, and so they monopolize it on the weekends for their easy evenings of classical music and people picnicking on the lawn. It was the 3rd evening in a row of blazing, incredible heat; my uniform of a forest green polo shirt almost completely sweated through and I hadn’t even been there an hour, as it was a lively crowd that needed a lot of chasing. My feet sweaty in the socks inside my hiking boots, all the better for traversing all of Blossom’s terrain. I remember stopping and looking around, sweat running down the middle of my back and thinking, I love this. THIS is how hot I wish it was, ALL THE TIME.

I remembered also a vacation, long, long ago now, to Scottsdale, a place I loved and considered moving for awhile, though the hippie in me has trouble with a place where they have to truck in all the water from so far away, and the epicure in me has trouble with a place you can’t leave anything out on the table or it will almost instantly rot or burn from the sun coming through the window. I was getting ready to go to dinner and I remember standing out on the balcony of my hotel room, watching the jackrabbits and the quail picking through stones and cacti, and I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, for the first time I can remember in my entire life, I am really, truly warm. All the way to my core. I could sleep out here, and not be cold.” It was the only time I can remember ever feeling that way, before or since. The thermometer showed it was 101 degrees.

 

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