The first snow fall brings with it satisfaction. Crisp white flakes gently fall from the pewter sky. A sheet of white thick enough to block out any noise, leaving the air quiet and calming. A setting evidently perfect for a blissful nap. Combined with the tranquil feelings emitted from sitting in a darkly lit car, its vents blaring and pushing out warm air that seemingly circulates everywhere but the back. But it's warm being bundled in thick coats and scruffy scarves. Your bright, young eyes upturned towards the bright enrapturing lights wrapped around the various scattered trees and houses making the world, for a time, a fairy tale. The dark houses in between them building up to the next stupendous light show. But now viewing them with my more aged eyes brings about the same now hoary thoughts and feelings but mixed with something bitter. Something I’m not quite sure when I picked up along the years that have passed by.
Every year there is a lingering excitement that comes before the winter air freezes over my world. The little part of me that is still young and careless seems to have grasped onto the things that would excite me beyond anything. That of tall pristine trees, classic movies entwined with memories, and delectable food that fills you with warmth. Maybe It’s just my mind trying to hold onto something happy. It’s hard to find much of anything that produces that effect. That rush of some hormone that makes the anxiety subside for a moment. But that seems to be enough for me to continue and to feel that excitement anyway.
But even then, it’s all hard to take in when you are situated in a temporarily fragmented home. Saws and screws blare through the floors and walls. The air within seems to be plastered with dust and toxicity. Making me fear to breath too much. So, I sit and wait on the last level of the house, leaving the world until they decide they are done for the day. Sitting in a solid room and finishing the left-over work from the previous 7 hours at school. Until I have nothing left to do.
My mother is too scared to put any big, fancy tree up, in case the workers might knock it over or crush the ornaments while they work. But I know in her worry ridden mind they are strangers who might steal something. So, the tree and its decor, stay in their boxes. The lights wrapped on the trees around the closely-knit neighborhood are shrouded in distance and thick glass. Because we don’t want to leave the house alone with strangers. So, we sit and wait, until the world goes dark and the optimal time for rest closes in. It felt something like being trapped in my own home. Making my world for a short time, consist of school and four blank walls. Filled with things I despise and make me feel conflicted. To others it may seem like a selfish plea with the world, but to me, at that time, my feelings were cast into a dismal pit.
The lingering fear of eight legged beings scuttling their way around me as I dwelt in their part of the house. Eating bland blocks that were referred to as muffins and any snacks I could gather together that very morning. Waiting for them to be done for the day, so I could eat something better, breath clean cool air, and prepare for the next day. An experience that leaves your mind feeling numb, so it doesn’t have to endure the constant change and stress. This effect seems to appear every year, whether it comes from someone else's stress and worry or unpleasant reminders of years like this one.
So, each year the sugar coating and the glossy finish is worn down just a bit. The world isn’t so bright, the lights are just lights, the presents are just everyday items, the family seemingly loses interest, and the cold seems to nip a bit more. The year we had construction done on our home was suffocating, but it was not the only occasion we had felt the glossy finish get scuffed or scraped.
Everyone makes their own experiences. Winter is different for everyone. And sometimes for one person it’s different every year. This was just one year, one month in my life. It wasn’t the end of the world then and it isn’t now. After all there are still 11 other months in the year to look to.
And at some point, even the snow gets worn and is filled with dirt and loses its structure leaving it on the side of the street. A slush of brown earthy matter. Encompassing the previously beautiful leaves from the season before. A little reminder of how the world is decaying and waiting to be renewed. A cycle that is never ending but leaves a new impression each time.