I remember with great warmth the gelid winters of my youth. Growing up in Colorado, I experienced the true seasonal meaning of winter, snow, and ice. Sometimes we had below freezing temperatures for days and days, accompanied with days of snow and huge snowdrifts peaking in our front and backyards–the very thing children long for in winter.
We eagerly anticipated the snow stopping long enough for us to go outside and play. We looked out the windows yearning for the slightest break in the weather. We tuned our ears for Mom’s voice, giving us the “go ahead” to play in the snow. And of course, she properly inspected each one of us to make sure we were bundled up in many layers of warmth.
My brother, two sisters, and I conquered those snowdrifts. We jumped in them with passion, trampled them down, dug caves, fell into them, and made snow angels. We had snowball fights and built snowmen. We played until our mother forced us in for hot chicken noodle soup and cheese crackers. Then we put our coats, leggings, scarves, hats, boots, and mittens on again and played until we were forced in again by the dark. The final snow activity was the ceremonial making of “snow ice cream” which was made by mushing snow together with sugar and vanilla extract. As I remember, it really never tasted that good!
The razor-cold chill of winter is hard to forget. We didn’t have electric blankets, and we used our central heating very frugally. I went to bed each night with pounds of wool blankets on top of me, and my legs and toes remained like popsicles between those crisp clean sheets until my own body heat began to generate some warmth in the bed. By morning, I was toasty warm, and it was hard to arise in the frosty room again.
I haven’t had a winter like that in many years. And I do recall the cold with distant affection. As an adult, I have found comfort in moderation. Not just moderate temperatures, but moderation in most aspects of life.
In fact, moderation is the word I am thinking about in starting a new year. The normal reaction to “turning over a new leaf” is to tackle it with great gusto, to come into the New Year like a roaring lion with extreme thinking and action–whatever it takes to meet those “resolutions” of the New Year. And maybe I have had the same attitudes in the past. But somehow this year, moderation seems like a good idea in embracing the new.
Oh I’m into setting goals. I really believe in them, and the New Year is an inspirational time to set goals. But this year, I want to tackle my new goals with moderation. I want to pace myself, to count the cost, to make solid progress, to really conquer, just like my brother and sisters and I conquered those snowdrifts in Colorado many years ago.
And I will need passion to succeed. Passion and moderation are not in conflict. Passion fuels my journey, as always, but somehow, someway in this radical, extra, extra large, extreme, super-sized, on-the-edge world in which I live, a “moderate” approach just seems more appropriate for 2008.