Life in layers

A quilt, a down comforter, a fleece blanket, and a flannel sheet.  Four layers. A flannel nightgown and wool socks, too.

When I try to wrestle the covers to roll over, I am pinned down by the weight of January.

Fleece leggings, a pair of thin wool socks with a heavier pair of wool socks over them, and not one, but two sweaters is my daytime ensemble. More layers. More weight.

Turning up the heat is small comfort. Some of us are built for January, and some of us just aren’t. At -28 degrees, I watch the chickadees at the feeder and wonder how they aren’t frozen into solid little bird lumps. Do they envy all their bird relations who fly south, I wonder, as they peck at my suet?

I work from home. Did I mention that I left the house just three times from Tuesday until Saturday this past week? Once, to get the mail. Once, to clean up beagle you-know-what in the yard. Once to take out the trash. The people who love me tell me that this is not healthy. To that, I think, yup, well, neither is freezing to death.

And so, I stay put. I work, read, and listen to music. I plan dinners and bake. I look at real estate listings and rentals in sunny locations where January is more than just an endurance event. I envy the Snowbirds who have the good sense to leave this frozen place every winter. Someday, that will be me, I tell myself.

I fantasize about walking barefoot along a sand beach, any beach, at dawn. Listening to the crash of waves and smelling the salt air. Watching the sandpipers and gulls run to the places where the waves recede. Feeling the hot sun on my neck and bare shoulders as I stop to pick up a shell that catches my eye. Feeling lighter. Less encumbered. A strolling, retired, sea creature. Home at last where I belong.

Body and mind permanently released from the layers of January.


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