Home to the USA
Just made it back to the US of A and getting a healthy dose of what cold weather is. Strapped up in Cleveland Ohio with long sleves and a jacket, not uncomfortably cold, still something to notice. There was a quote that I read somewhere about how it’s exciting to return to a familiar place to see how much you yourself have changed, which I wish that I could remember now.
As an update in 2016, I found this while searching for my name. It is interesting to see the items that bubble up to the top and more interesting to see what I happened to be thinking at that moment. There was certainly a need to dress warm in Ohio relative to other more calor parts of the globe. I think that my frequent run-in with seasons and harsh weather left a fairly positive impact on my ability to view life as a seasonal activity. No matter how grim or cold or grey the sky may have been, it would always warm up eventually. It is the same in other climates to be sure, perhaps it is the opposite — no matter how sweltering the heat, it would eventually cool off.
I am grateful for my annual run-ins with snow and ice, now. It taught me to hunker down and stay disciplined even through unpleasant moments. Even though it was so many years ago, some of my most piercing memories from high school were the moments well before dawn when I would rise for morning swim practice. I boiled the discomfort down to three instants that needed to be conquered.
First, when I first woke up and lay with my eyes closed listening to my alarm screech and honk from across the room. Although it seemed impossible to awake while horizontal, if I could make it to the point where my feet were flat on the floor, I knew from repetition that I would wake up after a few minutes.
Second, when I sat in the car. The engine took a few moments to heat up, and if I could make it to the turn onto Shaker Boulevard and halfway to Richmond, the vents on the right and left sides of the steering wheel would begin to blow warm air to thaw my knuckles.
Third, the leap into the ice-cold pool water. It would take a full-body jerk to leave the pool deck and submerge myself, completely exposed save my trunks, into the frigid swimming pool. At that moment, I was committed, and would frantically move my arms and legs to get some blood flow throughout my arteries and veins. After days of enduring the same routine, I knew that it took only 20 minutes to work my body to a state of pleasant warmth, just enough to enjoy before beginning to push myself physically and feel a new kind of struggle.
And I also remember the moment that the sun would rise, and shine through the bay windows into the deck and we would know that the effort was nearly complete. And I remember pulling from the third lot to the close one behind the school in the weak light of dawn, gray and cold and the lot empty because we were so early, feeling cool on my skin yet still warm at my core from my heart pumping and pumping and heating the furnace of my metabolism. And I felt so content in that moment, knowing that I had a full day ahead of me after having accomplished so much before the sun had even rose to spur the rest of the world to move.
Coldness takes on some of this for me. And here I sit in a pleasant cafe looking out at cool UK weather and happy to have grown up with it.