From time to time, I’ve slipped the surly bonds¹ of prairie winter and booked a tropical vacation. In 2010, my husband and I celebrated my newly-awarded doctoral degree, dipping our toes into St. Lucia’s white sands and turqoise surf. Last year, our Save-on-More grocery points bought us two tickets to Mazatlan, where we ambled along Mexico’s longest seawall and explored the cobbled streets of the city’s quaint old town.
More often, though, if you knock on my door during January and February, you’ll find me at home – and most of the time, I’m OK with that. Maybe I don’t miss what I’ve rarely had. When you’re a teacher, as I’ve been for much of my career, administration takes a dim view of abandoning your students right after the Christmas break for less sullen climes and faces. Not only that, being a child of the prairies, I actually like cozying up in the evenings with Christmas gift books, or turning out the kitchen light to watch snow drift down from the night sky.
And on winter Sunday evenings, my husband makes soul-warming dinners of chili and garlic bread, steak and mashed potatoes. This year, he’s been pouring us a pre-meal aperitif of pastis over ice. Its licorice briskness returns me to our sun-splashed wanderings around Provence last fall. So I’m fairly content right now not to be packing my bags for another major getaway.
This morning, the mercury is quivering at minus 22C. When we shop for groceries this afternoon, we’ll be smacked around by winds that will make the temperature feel more like minus 32.² My eyes are getting weary of the black and white still life that is Alberta winter in the city. I crave any color or sound or smell that tells me nature hasn’t totally abandoned us. And as winter trudges along, the day-to-dayness of my duties and routines is wearing as thin as a thread-bare quilt.
So, how to have a winterruption ³ without resorting to equatorial relief? I’ve got some ideas, and I’m inviting you along to try them out. You won’t need to pack your suitcase, or even leave your house. But I do have one request. After you read the posts, if you feel inspired to share your own methods for staring down February, do tell. What local harbours do you sail into when you need a respite from winter? I’d be especially interested in hearing from those of you who don’t live in frigidly cold climates but still experience the February fidgets. Or maybe, if you live in the southern hemisphere, your fidgets come at a different time of year. That would be fascinating to know about too.
Let’s help each other put a little spring in our steps, long before we can chuck off our boots for good.
¹This phrase is from the poem High Flight, by John Magee.
²For those of you on the Fahrenheit scale, when we hit minus 40 C, it will feel the same as your minus 40 F.
³Thanks, Travelocity.ca, for this clever word.