Winter is here

After a tumultuous year in so many ways, I wasn’t sure I was looking forward to or dreading the end of 2016.

It’s nearly the end of November. Winter has arrived in Minnesota. The first snowstorm and real cold was late, but it’s here now. It arrived with torrential rain, thunder and lightning, and blustery wind. I ran out into the wildness not to enjoy the sound and light show as I usually do, but to replace the downspout extensions on the gutters–I had just mowed the grass the day before and had removed them. So out I went in my flannel sleeping skirt (the only time I wear a skirt) and T-shirt and bare feet. Already there were puddles in the yard. Already it felt icy cold, foot-numbingly icy cold, and for someone who goes barefoot most of the year indoors and out I am an authority on foot numbing. Icy rain and bits of hail stung my skin and I was soaked before I turned the first corner to the back of the house, a distance maybe ten feet from the kitchen door.

Needless to say I saved our house from flooding. And as I hurried back inside, the cool 58 degree temperature of the house had never seemed so warm. Later that afternoon I had my first official “taste of the sky” as the wind howled and snow clung to the latticework of the rose arbor. The snow tasted crunchy, granular, metallic. It was good. I wish there had been more. “Granita” snow is my favorite snow to eat.

I wish I could tell you more good things. Like I’m finishing my next two books. Or have won the lottery. But I need to express that, like many, I’m deeply fearful of what might come from the change in administration for my country.

I usually try to keep politics and religion out of my social media but since the election, my concerns have overwhelmed my need to post beautiful photos of wild places, funny memes, or warnings about the latest scam. Even posting bits and pieces about my stories. But I’ll say this: if you are afraid and concerned, you have every right to be. But don’t sit back and wait to see what happens next. We’re in control of our own stories. Not God. if you are a religious person, remember that God gave us free will. You can’t just sit back in the driver’s seat, let go of the steering wheel, take your feet off the pedals and say, “It’s all over to You, God. You decide what happens. You’re in control.” You’re insulting the God you believe in by throwing your hands into the air and waiting to be saved. Insulting the One who gave us intelligence, dexterity, reasoning, and the power to control the direction of our lives. God didn’t make it easy. Life isn’t supposed to be easy–all the time. Because intelligent lifeforms need challenges, choices, even disasters to thrive, to become better, to feel the satisfaction one’s life meant something.

Remember that. I’m trying to.

The winter of the soul is bitter cold, lonely, and fearful. You can either succumb or fight for survival every second. Giving in does nothing.

So go out fighting. You don’t have to injure, insult, or otherwise harm anyone to fight this soulless threat. You just have to use your voice and stand strong and make the people we’ve given responsibility to accountable.

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