Winter can be a time of reserved hope and mending

The Christmas lights in Flask Walk on Sunday, November 15 2020. Picture: André Langlois

Christmas lights in Flask Walk "muting the hollow pangs of shorter days" - Credit: André Langlois

It’s February and already I find myself counting the extra minutes of daylight leading up to 5pm. Leading up to spring.

Longer days equal felicity! A return of life and laughter, positivity and fluff, to the husk of utilitarian winter days.

That heartened feeling that the early blossoms lend us as they paint the tree-lined streets in shades of lilacs and pinks. The unnoticed change of your quick and shivering stride in January to a relaxed and cosy stroll in March. A familiar, recurring newness that we seem to endure winter for.

Endure. Let’s linger on endurance. A theme that we too often invite when we think of the inevitability of winter and its shades of grey. Summer was here, was good, then left. And darkness never was happiness. Why else do we don December in luminous holidays and extravagant traditions? …the glittery trap of commercialism muting the hollow pangs of shorter days. But then the holidays leave us, trailing new memories, a couple kilos and corked finances on its way out. Then we’re left to brave 12 more weeks of soggy pavements and wet commutes.

NewYork/Crouch End writer Carlene Fraser-Harris. Picture: Carlene Fraser-Harris

Carlene Fraser-Harris is making the most of winter - Credit: Carlene Fraser-Harris

Don’t stand on February whistling for April. She can offer us so much more than wind-bashed brollies and musty rain boots. Reading lists, cookbooks and new spices, personal renewal, even new shoes [on sale] are a few things that come to mind when I think of February.

While spring carries a very outward revitalisation, winter can be a time of reserved hope and mending.

And, yes, I do believe that new year’s resolutions are a die-hard fad, but I have great confidence in timely resolutions. Sample an online writing workshop or try that facial Sally’s been raving about. Make yourself some hot chocolate and call up Aunt Judy. How long has it been? Two - three years? And if your mobile devices aren’t facilitating nostalgic reconnections, then completely unplug. Take the time to send a card, instead. What does your handwriting even look like? Read that best-seller you saw plastered on the side of all the buses. Then, read another. Pour yourself into whimsical. Keep a journal. Light candles. Ask and answer your own questions. No, you’re not completely mental for doing that; but it is mentally debilitating to not.

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Yes, this latest lockdown feels like someone has just asked us to run a 10K right after finishing a marathon, hunched over and still breathing heavy from the last lap. But what positivity are you choosing to rake in from this season of homebound winter? Emphasis on “rake.”

Sustenance makes the heart grow fonder and that’s the truth. Feed your daily routine with a random sentimental thought. Let it linger and don’t fight the smile. Lean into something idyllically healing this winter lockdown. And when the sun reappears, give thanks for a winter well spent. Even in lockdown.

  • Carlene Fraser-Harris is a Crouch End-based writer.