This week I wrestled with post-holiday blues and in this quiet time I recall those no longer here. Those shiny, vibrant beings who escaped their earthly bodies to dance with stars. Or at least that’s what I imagine tonight. I mean, if I can’t share a bottle of champagne with my mother anymore, at least I can presume she is doing something fabulous, starry even, right? As my eye drifts out the picture window at the endless snow falling, I hear her ringing laughter, for she adored the holiday season, skating full force from one glittery gathering to the next without pause.
Step forward, that is what I remind myself when I wonder how to continue past the blues. Listen to those who share sage advice. From whatever source speaks to you. Michelle Obama’s new book. Deepak’s latest guided meditation. Even your favorite online yoga instructor. Listen to whoever’s voice you hear. Perhaps more than that, is to get outside when possible. Of course I live in a wonderland, and being outdoors, although does require gear, brings vast rewards. Joy, for one.
In some ways I prefer winter running to doing so in the summer. If the temperature hovers above freezing, you can keep plenty warm with not too many layers, and not feel the fatigue you can in July humidity and heat. I keep yaktrax permanently on a pair of sneakers for traction, have a neon vest so not to be missed, and stay on sidewalks or side roads as much as possible. There is nothing like getting hot in the cold to make you smile even under the overcast sky.
You just have to remember to look up. Catch the almost indistinguishable shades of non-gray, tinged with something else, hovering just above the tree tops. Maybe it is the blue wanting to pop out or something that van Gogh might have turned yellow. Feathery crystalized snow lines every branch, and while you still need to pack up the china and bedding from Thanksgiving dinner guests, you can start to picture evergreens strung with lights brightening these down days. Yeah, snow helps at times. It reflects every sparkle, every dreamy hope, and lifts it up.
I run past corn fields now dormant. There are flocks of geese headed south glad for a moment here and crows who sweep the sky like surveyors keeping guard while the ground rests. Mountains are shrouded, much like my mood, but at a moment’s notice will break to majesty. Metaphor abounds as I keep the pace through this slumbering landscape. Each step shifts me onward.
I am often struck into stillness when running into the dusk. The lights do their best to illuminate my path, the starkness mirroring my soul, as I stand for a brief interlude, remembering. It is hard not to feel immense gratitude even in the midst of loss. We who can glimpse this beauty need to do what we can to hold on, to honor, to strive with responsibility. I breath that in, and continue on, running with the dying light at my back. Chasing this breathing space until the end. Remembering all those who held me. Remembering those I can still embrace. Shifting forward.
It’s time to get home. This day is done, but thankfully there is a tomorrow. Even days ahead for us to fill with small moments, and perhaps a few extravaganzas too. Winter has arrived with her demands. We are temporary hostages in her desperate harshness and bleak despair. I head through the doorway, taking my frozen dreams to thaw along side the hearth, now ready to light up my darkness. I strain to catch sight of those I miss so desperately dancing way up there.