Thursday, February 14, 2013

Isn't it Romantic?

In my winter's solace, I dream. From my dreams arises outlook. And from my outlook I take action.
Image from

Undeniably, I am a romantic at heart. And in the depths of winter, especially during this very blustery one, I naturally return to my romantic tendencies. "Oh, what a lucky spouse you must have," you might say with a wink and a sly smile. Ha ha. Well, I do give fabulous hugs. In fact, I'm known for them. But such divulgences are not the true intent of this post. The romantic tendencies of which I write follow suit with those of the great Romantic Movement of the 18th-19th Century. (Okay, here is where I need you to stay with me.) Romanticism, as described by The Oxford Companion to English Literature (rev. ed.) is in part an expression of "an extreme assertion of the self and the value of individual experience...together with the sense of the infinite and the transcendental." (Are we still good? Excellent.) Akin to my own mantra, everyone has a story worth telling and being heard. And it is with and from these experiences and stories, especially those that abound from our emotions and imagination, that we grow. In essence, the individual self and its creations matter. You matter. I matter.

And so, winter fills me with a private joy. Beyond the shovelling and re-shovelling, the piles of wet outer (and inner) clothes, and the bitingly frigid elements, I choose to see winter as a gift to myself and my sense of self. It is those same harsh weather conditions that enable me to go inside--physically indoors, yes, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually into the heart of me. Winter offers me the ever-elusive and precious opportunity to be silent and still. In this state, I become ready to listen. Introspection and intuition, those trusty allies, loyally join me in my quietude. They offer me their company, and I gratefully accept. Together we consider ideas and points of view. We take time to contemplate the books we have just read rather than becoming prey to serial speed reading. We listen, truly listen, to music—how the melodies build and recede and what the lyrics might mean. We make time to capture it all in our journal. We reflect.  From this state of recognition, I can face the next wave of consorts--possibility, determination, and risk--when they come to call, as they invariably do. These three are  more adventurous, assertive, and worldly. Were it not for the depths of winter, I might not have the wherewithal to fully appreciate their presence. Wondrously, this season of the year and my life is preparing me for the gifts they bring so I welcome them in, too. Together we will plan for the rebirth that is spring.