I woke up this morning to find an ornament had fallen and shattered into a dozen or so pieces at the foot of my already wilted and dying Christmas tree. I swept up the shards and a mess of needles, returned the broom to the closet, and was immediately nailed on the head by its handle, which had sprung back at me from the wall. My head pulsed. The heat was on but the room still felt cold. “Oh, it’s bad winter,” I thought to myself. Bad winter starts now.
The holidays have ended and there is nothing left to publicly blunt the full impact of the season in the cold parts of the country. The lights that may have been strung around your neighborhood will soon come down. The sights and smells of the holidays will slowly disappear from view. Your colleagues will still bring in sour gummy worms to share, but it won’t feel the same as the time Kelly brought in iced sugar cookies she made herself or when we had three decorative popcorn tins going at once. You will still see friends and gather together for meals with loved ones, but there will be less ham.
In a sane world, we would have already moved Christmas to extend the good part of winter. What we’re left with instead is bad winter: February, then March. Snow and cold rains and then snow again. Snow melts and becomes ice. Ice melts unevenly and turns black with soot from passing trucks. April will come but it will be cold, too.
Now I can hear some of you saying, “Winter isn’t really all that bad.” Or maybe, “You shouldn’t let a commercial holiday and some twinkle lights determine the mood of an entire season.” I understand, my friends. I know that sometimes we have to tell ourselves these kinds of things to make it through difficult situations. I support your coping strategies. We have gotten through many bad winters before and we will get through this one, too. Nothing to do but wait it out and invest in a warm jacket if you can.