Friday, January 18, 2013

Winter's not so bad without palm trees

 So I had myself wired up to believe that I was done with New England winters. Maybe it was the smack of my face on black ice-covered asphalt in '07 that cracked my head open requiring seven stitches along my eyebrow line that felt like a betrayal.

Two years ago I spent December through March in Pasadena, California. It was a good winter to be far away from Boston, but last year I stayed here, held my breath, and no major snow or ice got in my way. So far, I find this year's mild cold invigorating. I even thought the snow trimming the branches this week a beautiful sight. Especially because it soon turned to rain.
Visiting a friend in Gloucester for a few days, I bundled up early this morning to walk along the harbor. Because we're used to a cold winter in New England, most houses are well equipped to heat us well, while in sunny California, cold nights can bring on unexpected chills that get into the bones because of inadequate heating systems.
Wherever I am, it's the climate in my head that's the most important. Sometimes I forget that and think where I am is going to dictate my comfort and safety. But the truth is, I take my "meography" with me wherever I go. I learned that a long time ago while vacationing on exotic Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Soon after I arrived in this idyllic place, with all my day-to-day routines temporarily suspended, all the troubling hills and valleys of my emotions in that period of my life came to the surface and I felt depressed. That's when I coined the phrase "meography" and drew in my journal an autobiographical topography of the hills and valleys of my emotional highs and lows for as long as I could remember them. Just doing that, giving it a name, and then jumping into a heated salt water pool, I was finally able to let go of my troubling thoughts and enjoy my vacation from all the busy and frantic parts of my life that had kept me from exploring the psychic valleys that emerged uninvited, yet finally dissolved in Paradise.