The shirt I pulled on this morning bears a message for me: Winter is coming, it reminds me. I brush myself off, grab my client keys for the day, and head to my car to start work for the day.
Winter and I have never been friendly. Living in Illinois, winters were miserable times of trudging through two foot high snowbanks on my way to class because the plows hadn’t gotten to that area of campus yet. Sitting in class, I could feel the snow melting on my jeans, leaving me shivering in the back row as the wet denim clung to my legs up to the knee. It was a time of cracked hands and bleeding knuckles as the cold time has no mercy for those who wash their hands too often.
I would wear only hoodies in the winter, with a band of fleece around my head to keep my ears from frostbite and gloves that I took off more often than left on. If the cold wanted to bite, I would bear it and snarl back. It helps that people native to Northern Illinois and further north start pumping antifreeze: instead of blood come midOctober.
The winds would howl at night and I would glower out the window of the three-bedroom apartment I rented with two women I couldn’t stand. It was testing me, I knew. The crows would begin to call at 4am in the Dead Tree and I would pull the covers up higher as frost licked my window, Jack’s way of saying hello before I had to head to my morning class.
Winter and I have never been friends. It is a long stretch of quiet and peace that frightens me, it’s promise of a cold death if I won’t fight beckoning me at every turn. But it is mate to Death, as Fire to Life. And each year, as the fires of Samhain die out and dawn breaks on November 1, I prepare my armor to fight once more against the cold dark.