It seems after a bit of extended vacation, Winter has arrived. The rains, the snowstorms, the icy roads, the whole gamut of winter has come back to the Northern Hemisphere once again. I can so see how the ancients made Winter into an entity, something to know as you would a person, for it does seem to have some of the qualities of a vindictive woman. She is here again, seeming to have descended with more vengeance on some parts of the hemisphere than on others, but it has descended nonetheless.
Here, in Central Florida where me and DaBoys are, Winter sort of wandered around, not sure if she was going to go this far south of the Mason/Dixon or not. It was a bit of a shock when she swooped down on us. One day it was 83 degrees and nicely sunny, the next it was 50 and cloudy.
Today is brutal to us Floridians. It is 39 degrees, cloudy, windy and bitter cold. No snow here, well, not so far; but 39 is cold no matter where you are. Well, except for maybe Nome, Alaska.
This bought of cold has my alter-ego, The Grumpy Girl, coming out. DaBoys are such troopers to put up with my hurrying them through the walks so I can get back into the warmth again. This morning when we went out it was only 36, with a wind-chill making it more like 31. Grumpy indeed!
As I apologized to my sweet buddies with a cookie apiece, I thought about what it is about cold temperatures that makes me so very, very intolerant and grumpy. I saw that when I bundled up this morning to take them out, I had all the things on myself I needed to keep myself warm: woolly hat and gloves, puffy coat, woolly scarf, layers of warm clothes and nice fake-fur boots with super warm socks.
So, why was I so cold? I did an inventory of my body to see what part was experiencing the cold so badly that it affected the rest of the body. My head was warm, well—cheeks were pretty cold but not frozen, my hands were warm inside the gloves inside the jacket pockets, my feet were nice and warm in the boots and socks, and my legs were not too awfully cold in the sweats I had on. As DaBoys and I hurried around the little path, I thought on this. It is not blizzard weather like it is in New York Pennsylvania, so what is the real problem here?
Cold is not just temperature. Cold is being ignored. Cold is being so insignificant that not one other human being sees you. Cold is being outside of another’s affections. Cold is being a Less-Than. Cold is not being in the warmth of love.
As I thought of these truths, another one came into focus for me. We all have a small child inside of us that is forever seeking that which the child craves, what it sees as a need, an empty space. For some of us it manifests itself in drive for money, or fame, or conquests, or doing the ultimate good, or finding a cure for a disease, or even saving all the dogs one human being can possibly save. (I have that, just not the means to do it, so I save and help the ones God gives to me to save and help).
I now understand my total and complete aversion to cold. It has very little to do with the real temperature, it has to do with my little girl. You see, she lost the warmth of open love when she was just a bit over ten years old. Not only was it from a warmer climate, it was from a person who openly expressed love for her.
It was so much more of just an outward environment change, it was one of the heart also. From open love to harshness. From smiles and genuine joy to clamped down feelings, hidden from the world under a wall of granite. From known ways of doing things and of acting to, unknown ways of place and people. Added to this was the complete unpredictability of adults who should have been at least aware of her loss, her child’s pain, her not having the resources to cope with such a radical change in the very fabric of her life.
Those adults closest to her were battling their own demons, to be sure. Some were so familiar as to become part of their internal makeup. That little one was left vulnerable to predatory people who took advantage of the adults inattention. In there defense, they undoubtedly just didn’t notice the extreme vulnerability of the child.
So my extreme aversion to cold has pretty much nothing to do with the actual number on the thermometer. I has to do with that poor, lost and lonely little girl who was transplanted from warm, Sunny Florida to not-quite-so-warm-and Sunny California mountains without any even remote idea of what it would be like. Living in her Gramma Hallie’s house, with its wallpaper blowing in the East Wind. Listening to the arguments and feeling the deep anger between her Mom and Gramma. Never knowing when the frustrated anger would turn on her.
It does amaze me that after all these years, after all the therapy sessions, the helps from books and others who have been through similar things; I am still susceptible to the triggers of cold. I guess this will just be a part of my life’s tapestry. Which is part of the myriad reasons I live where I do. I came here for the physical warmth yes, but because too of the family that is here, the open friendliness of my neighbors and the ever present and welcome sun. Even though it is a very cold (for Florida) 45 degrees right now at 1:30 in the afternoon, the sun is doing its best to shine down on us Lizards and keep us warm.
(As I said to my friend today, who hails from Pennsylvania and has a tendency to stroll around in shorts and flip-flops in January; if you had lived in the Sun Belt for 56 years, you would be cold too!!!!)
I know that the warmth I am seeking comes from love. My first source of that love is God himself, then those around me in this world. In order to truly warm up where I need to be is at his feet. Basking at the source of all love. So, I will take a really hot shower, put on my woollies once again, and take my little girl inside off to church where she has always found what she seeks.