As I write this, it is around 6:00 A.M., February 1.
Here in the Midwest, we are bracing for a snow storm – they say Northwest Indiana may get up to 20 inches of snow, along with drifting, slipping, sliding, shivering, moaning . . . bitching.
Flashback to childhood: Snow was magnificent back then–a playground of white in a fairyland world. The first snow was always the best snow because it reminded me of how there would soon be sledding, snowmen, and with luck, no school.
My best friend and I used to play a game. Upon having spotted the first snowflake of the year, one would phone the other to squeal “Happy first snow!” The friend who telephoned the other friend first was the winner. THE WINNER–that’s the key. Snow was all about winning back then.
In youth, the miracle of precipitation is seen as a victory of nature.
Somewhere along the way, I lost those feelings.
Maybe it was learning to drive that did it. All it takes is one good skid to remind oneself just how threatening snow can be.
Or maybe it was aging and listening to people talk about how each winter gets harder and more painful to bear.
Pain does indeed have a lot to do with it. This makes me wonder if perhaps my dread of winter came from my not realizing to what extent gluten-intolerance was messing with my body. Part of this was witnessed by my having developed Raynaud’s Syndrome which, among other things, keeps my hands and feet almost-always cold. For me, it became worse each year.
I also stopped absorbing nutrients and lost Vitamin D. This caused weakness and pain, and it caused my arms and legs to go numb in the winter.
That was then.
Last month, Howard and I visited Starved Rock, Illinois, where countless Bald Eagles spend winter every year. It was snowy, icy, and colder than cold, yet I was able to bird watch outside for as long as I wished.
To aid my Raynaud’s, I wore two pairs of socks and three pairs of gloves, much of it wool (hand knit by yours truly). Remember the little brother from the movie A Christmas Story? That was me, bundled in layers as I toddled into the snow.
Starved Rock was beautiful. The Bald Eagles gave us goosebumps . . . and the snow? It was splendid. It filled me with the same delight I knew as a child. Being there reminded me of how, as an adult and before I was diagnosed, I was a “starved rock” of sorts – void of mobility and hungry for things I’d yet to understand.
It has taken me a while, but I’ve grown to realize that my having been diagnosed with gluten-intolerance was a gift of nourishment, not a curse of deprivation.
It has now been over a year since my diagnosis and the beginning of my gluten-free (and now, corn free) diet.
My body absorbs nutrients.
I am not in pain the way I once was.
I feel younger than I have in many years, and . . .
I am knitting again.
With knitting added to the scene (another love I left behind in childhood), life turns into a landscape where cold weather draws winter even closer to my heart. Nothing hugs winter better than wool.
Winter has become a playground again.
As I listen to today’s storm warning, I know all is well. When the storm hits, I’ll pray everyone stays safe, then I’ll knit in the knowing that what I hold keeps me warm inside as well as out.
Bring on the snow. These years have become my formative years, and I look forward to the flurry.
Love to all,
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