I took a deep breath and could see it exhale amid the cold winter air.

Taking notice of the beauty of the frosted trees and the calm of the evening, I tried to let go of the weight of the day. When did everything became so heavy?

I briskly walked as the frigid air stung my cheeks and thoughts rapidly raced through my mind.

We often try to solve the stresses that loved ones are experiencing and the world is facing while working out our own worries, and it can be a lot.

So, in that moment I let myself fall freely and landed in a pile of fresh snow like I used to do as a kid. I smiled as I looked up at the starry sky. I felt a sense of serenity.

“The secret of life is to look up,” I had read a meme earlier that week with that saying, featuring the beloved Charles Schulz’s character Snoopy who was looking up at the sky.

When my sisters and I were kids, we would lay on our sleds next to each other and gaze at the sky after we had a fun day of playing outside. There was always a feeling of peacefulness and calm. Winter was a time of fun for us. We could not wait to get outside after a fresh snowfall to build a snowman or snow fort or to have a snowball fight.

Our cheeks would hurt – but not from the cold air like mine did that evening – but from the laughter we would share.

We are blessed in northern Minnesota to have fresh clean air and backyards as recreational playgrounds. There is also something special about winter as there is a stillness around us with the sparkle of snow and the quiet of a night, especially in a rural setting.

It can be a reset of sorts.

A loved one recently told me that winter for him is like a fresh beginning. He shared a story about traveling to an oceanside state in the winter and experiencing a salty taste and a fishy smell.

He recalled the refreshing feeling coming back to Minnesota and being welcomed by the crisp clean air, the calm of the season, and the warmth of home.

Every day since that day I let myself fall in the snow, I make a point to embrace winter in some way.

I walk, snowshoe or bundle up our daughter and take her sledding on the hill we made at my mom’s house. It is a special way to see people we love during a pandemic in the middle of winter.

Winter through my daughter’s eyes makes me appreciate the season all over again, especially as she holds the snow in her mittens and her smile widens with each experience, much like when I was a kid. The one who was never bothered by the snow or cold.

Somewhere along the way as I moved into adulthood, I had forgotten that feeling and would look for ways to escape winter.

What if during those times, when we want to escape, are inside our heads or our burdens feel heavy, we take a moment and walk outside? And we take a deep breath, take in the fresh air, and gain a new perspective, and then let it go, like Elsa sings about in Frozen, even if just for that moment.

*Melissa can be reached at MelissaCox2009@yahoo.com.

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