Hoopla and Hullabaloo

Those are the words I use to define the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. No matter how well prepared we think we are for the rush of three holidays that span roughly 5 weeks, as we move from one to another, the pace quickens to the point where we seem to get one holiday over and stress to prepare for the next one. And then, finally, January 2nd comes, and our rushed pace, except for the dis-assembly of holiday decorations, is over.

While I don’t appreciate the stress created from moving so quickly from holiday to holiday, gathering and preparing for each one, it’s almost like, after it’s over, the adrenaline rush just dies. We don’t slow down, we simply stop! It’s like being in your car, traveling along a highway, then seeing a sign that says “reduced speed ahead” so you slow down just a little and then, from out of what seems like nowhere, there is a traffic light, on red, stuck up in the sky in front of you. You stop and however safely you do so, you come to a full and complete stop and just sit there. The light will eventually change and you’ll keep moving along, but it’s a long time traveling on a rural-type road until you get to another highway where you can speed up.

For those of us who live in areas where winter is one of Mother Nature’s nasty moods, we all begin to think about what she might have in store for us, just waiting around the bend in the road. No one makes any serious plans to see or do something, never knowing when she will strike with fury. We tend to muddle along the road, anticipating her wrath because it WILL arrive at some point, and hoping that her tempestuousness will be mild.

For the winter season we are in right now, the Farmer’s Almanac predicted that December wouldn’t hold a lot of coatings of white blankets on the ground, which turned out to be true. But it also forecast that January and February is when she will unleash her outrage upon us. For me, the Farmer’s Almanac predictions for weather are like daily horoscopes – I don’t really believe in the actual forecast of either, but I still pay attention with a “just in case” attitude.

Oh, how sometimes I wish I could return to my childhood each winter – when joy erupted for a “school closings” day announcement on the TV/radio and we were so excited to bundle up like the Michelin man and go play in the white stuff for hours, ignoring wet feet and runny noses and fingers that felt like icicles! I miss that innocence with which I could appreciate the snow because I didn’t bear the responsibility to clear vehicles, shovel walks, try to travel to work on treacherous roads. We’d come back in after hours of play, shed the wet clothes, climb back into our warm pajamas, and have either tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches or hot chocolate and toast. All of the goodies we’d gotten for Christmas were still new to us, so we could laze around reading or playing games.

Now, no longer children, we see snowfall as an inconvenience, no matter how much we enjoy its initial beauty. And we have no adrenaline left from our hoopla and hullabaloo holidays, so short daylight hours and cold winter temperatures mixed with no big holidays to prepare for makes the winter seem to last forever…

I’ve been trying to think about ways in which I could create a little bit of that excitement, if not every day, at least once a week, to get through what feels like that forever of winter. It shouldn’t be a hard task, since even having a list of errands that need attention gets me out and about. I’ve become a bit lazy in that regard, planning all of my errands for the same day, figuring I’d do everything while I was out and about. Maybe it’s just as simple as splitting them into different days so that I have cause to be out and around people more often. Maybe getting some fresh air, no matter how cold that air is, will be enough. Maybe remembering that the snow didn’t kill me as a child and going out in it to play will help.

Any ideas from any of you???